In the Name of the Father
1993 | Drama/Courtroom Drama | 133 minutes | English
Gerry Conlon is an Irish ne’er-do-well living in Belfast. Conlon’s father urges his son to move to London fearing punishment by the IRA. While Conlon is squatting in a home in London, an explosion in a nearby pub kills five people and injures sixty-five. Conlon returns to Belfast. While there, a fellow squatter back in London notifies the police that Conlon may be the one who set off the bomb. Conlon is flown back to the UK to be interrogated about the bombing. The British police are obsessed with the need to produce the IRA bomber they seized on flimsy hearsay evidence. Conlon is tortured and threatened for several days. Even though he is surely innocent, he confesses. Conlon’s father, Giuseppe, goes to England to support his son but he, too, is thrown in the same jail cell for supposedly supporting the bombing. Both are horribly treated in prison while protesters plead for dismissal. One of the protesters, Gareth Peirce, takes on the case of proving that Conlon and his father were wrongfully convicted. Gareth faces a huge challenge: she must not only prove their innocence but she faces UK police officials who are reluctant to admit they made a mistake.
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 94%
- Metacritic Score: 84
Academy Awards: Nominated, Best Picture; Best Actor in a Leading Role (Daniel Day-Lewis); Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Pete Postlethwaite); Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Emma Thompson); Best Director (Jim Sheridan)
Golden Globes: Nominated, Best Picture; Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Emma Thompson)
Berlin International Film Festival: Golden Bear Award, Best Director (Jim Sheridan)
National Board of Review: Selected, Top Ten Films of the Year
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IN the NAME of the FATHER is a model of this kind of engaged, enraged filmmaking. It uses one of the most celebrated cases of recent British history to steamroller an audience with the power of rousing, polemical cinema.
The picture turns into a kind of stylized morality play about the right and the wrong ways for Irishmen to respond to distorted portraits of character, and it’s terrifically effective.
In his scathingly brilliant new film, the Irish director Jim Sheridan has perfectly evoked the backdrop against which Gerry Conlon’s story takes place. The film’s edgy, volatile atmosphere and Gerry’s pathetic naiveté make his ordeal that much more monstrous as it unfolds. IN the NAME of the FATHER has a title that evokes both familial devotion and prayer. A personal tragedy and a plea for justice. Mr. Sheridan’s tough, riveting film succeeds on both scores.
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