12 April, 2010

In the Name of the Father (1993)

Father, forgive them

Nominated for European Film of the Year (Jim Sheridan), European Film Awards 1994

A controversial one this, but, considering you've got Jim Sheridan (who co-wrote Terry George's Some Mother's Son (1996) with the director) at the helm, and it tells the story of the wrongful 15-year imprisonment of the 'Guildford Four' following the Guildford pub bombing by the IRA in 1974, that probably goes without saying, right?

Central to Sheridan's powerful, emotive adaptation is Gerry Conlon (Daniel-Day Lewis), whose book Proved Innocent tells the story of his wrongful incarceration, the death of his father Guiseppe Conlon (Pete Postlethwaite) in prison and his eventual release along with Paul Hill (John Lynch), Patrick 'Paddy' Armstrong (Mark Sheppard) and Carole Richardson (Beatie Edney) in 1989.

Their convictions were quashed because of the police torture that was shown to have been used to extract the original 'confessions' and revalations that evidence that would have cleared the four was withheld from the defence. Clearly, the Brits have much to be ashamed of - Terry George and Jim Sheridan's screenplay ran into a little hot water at the time of the film's release, because it plays fast and loose with some (but only some) of the specifics of the injustice that played out over 15 years.

In a wonderfully moving duet, Gerry and Guiseppe are shown to have been interred in the same prison - while this was actually not the case, it matters not a jot to this reviewer. The film is all about human truth and agony and, with a stirring performance from Emma Thompson as the four's impassioned defence lawyer, it's one that will have you raising the roof at its climax. Simply wonderful.

Awards: Click here for details.

133 mins.

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