A drama based on the true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College Texas. In 1935, he inspired students to form the school's first debate team, which went on to challenge Harvard in the national championship.
A small time thief from Belfast, Gerry Conlon, is falsely implicated in the IRA bombing of a pub that kills several people while he is in London. Bullied by the British police, he and four of his friends are coerced into confessing their guilt. Gerry's father and other relatives in London are also implicated in the crime. He spends 15 years in prison with his father trying to prove his innocence with the help of a British attorney, Gareth Peirce. Based on a true story. Written by
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A film fully deserving to be in IMDb's top 250, Jim Sheridan's "In The Name of the Father" is an excellent piece of work. Based on a true and very touching story, the film recounts the story of Gerry Conlon (Day-Lewis) who is wrongly accused as an IRA terrorist. Not only are the police bending the facts to prove their case, but in the process they also implicate members of his friends and family, including his father Giuseppe (Postlethwaithe) whose health condition is rather frail. Gerry is a rebellious and mildly delinquent boy who does not seem to have grown up, and his attitude toward his father is not the appropriate one; however, as they start to go through the ordeal together, Gerry gradually matures, and starts feeling a deep affection and respect for Giuseppe.
The story is heart-breaking and shocking at the same time, all the more so when one realizes that these things actually DID happen. Although there have been some minor modifications for the purpose of the film, the backbone of the story is left completely intact.
The two protagonists, Daniel Day-Liewis and Pete Postlethwaithe are delivering powerful performances, and they both deserved the Oscar hands-down. However, it would be unfair not to mention that virtually everyone in the film is great in his/her role.
Jim Sheridan's direction is also very good, giving the plot a fair and balanced perspective; although the film might initially appear as pro-Irish / anti-English, in fact I consider it as quite objective. Granted, it vividly shows that some key figures in the London police were profoundly biased and manipulated maliciously the case against the Conlons; yet, it also shows that English public attitudes turned highly supportive for the Conlons' freedom when it started to become clear that they were not the culprits for the atrocities they had been charged with. We have always to remember that the film depicts a period of big tensions, with emotions running high to levels of hysteria, so we have to understand the events within this context.
Of course, what happened to the Conlons is totally deplorable and unjustifiable; and it is real shame that the people who conspired against them have not been punished yet for their crimes. Still, one should understand the hostile attitude shown by those who were not part of this conspiracy (such as the judge, for example), who were influenced by the climate of terror and the outrage of the public. The Conlons had the terribly bad luck to be at the wrong place, in the wrong time, and with the wrong nationality; the also have the great misfortune to be captured by people who in their quest to show results were shamelessly willing to risk indicting people who could possibly be innocent.
"In the Name of the Father" is a fantastic film, which one should not miss. 10/10.
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