Tuesday, January 14, 2014
In the Name of the Father. B+
Jim Sheridan's In the Name of the Father is a stronger movie than The Boxer, largely because it's based off of true events that make the experience a lot more emotionally stirring. It's about the imprisonment of several IRA members who have been wrongfully accused of a bombing that killed four people. The big deal is that the British police essentially tortured these men until they had no choice but to say they were responsible. Among those imprisoned are Gerry Conolon (Daniel Day Lewis) and his father Giuseppe (Pete Postlethwaite), the latter being sentenced simply as an accessory to the crime. There's a searing pain and a pulsating anger that permeates the movie, yet Sheridan uses restraint in all the right places, never letting the movie become a plodding exercise in political and social justice. He's interested more in what this kind of mistreatment does to human condition and in finding the right ways to go about dealing with it. It's unfathomable to consider what Gerry Conolon and his father had to endure. The way the film depicts the different ways they react to their imprisonment is its greatest strength. When it's over, it's a hard movie not to admire.