67 – In the Name of the Father

Welcome to The Best Movies I’ve Never Seen! This is the part of the blog where I work my way through 100 films I’ve never seen that are generally considered to be great. You’re invited to watch along with me if you can find a copy or find it streaming. So grab some popcorn and let’s get started!

In the Name of the Father

1993

Directed by Jim Sheriden

Quick synopsis… Nominated for seven Oscars in 1993, this biopic features the dramatic prowess of Daniel Day-Lewis as the Irishman Gerry Conlon, who was wrongfully sentenced to life in prison for an IRA terrorist attack that killed four people. As if a forced confession weren’t enough injustice, the police work to implicate Conlon’s father (Pete Postlethwaite) in the same crime. Emma Thompson plays the lawyer who worked for years to uncover the truth.

As I start writing this post, I’m not even an hour into this movie and my heart is already breaking for what’s happening to Gerry Conlon (Daniel Day-Lewis) and his family. I mean… it’s pretty messed up.

As you can see from the above synopsis and from the tagline on the poster, this is based on the life of Gerry Conlon, who was falsely accused of carrying out an IRA terrorist bombing. During his police “interrogation” he’s tortured and forced to sign a confession when the police threaten to kill his father.

Even though Gerry maintains his innocence throughout the trial, he’s basically railroaded and sentenced to life in prison for the crime he never committed. Later, while in prison, Gerry and his father, Giuseppe (Pete Postlethwaite), come across another inmate named Joe McAndrew, who admits that he was the one behind the bombing. McAndrew even confessed this to the police, but because the authorities don’t want to admit to the mistake they made with the Conlons, they withhold that bit of information, leaving the innocent to continue rotting in prison.

Giuseppe sadly dies in prison, but Gerry carries on fighting to clear his father’s name with the help of Giuseppe’s attorney, Gareth Peirce (Emma Thompson). She manages to investigate Gerry’s original claim of having an alibi for the night of the bombing, a man named Charlie Burke who he was with in the park. Because of this continued investigation and new testimony, Gerry and his alleged co-terrorists are exonerated.

I’m probably in the minority with this opinion, but I still don’t see the big deal about Daniel Day-Lewis. There are so many “great” actors that I see and just shrug my shoulders and think… meh… I’m not saying that Daniel Day-Lewis is a bad actor. Maybe what it comes down to is that I’m just not that impressed by “great” acting. But I sure can recognize bad acting when I see it.

Whatever I may think of the actors involved, I am impressed with this film. It’s incredibly moving, especially considering I am aware of so little of the politics involved with England and Ireland during this period of history. In the Name of the Father probably isn’t a movie I’ll come back to watch over and over again, but I do think it’s worth seeing.

Having now seen In the Name of the Father, it ranks at 488 out of 2,269 movies on my personal Flickchart.

Have you seen In the Name of the Father? If so, what did you think of it? Am I not giving Day-Lewis enough credit for his acting abilities? Let me know what you think down in the comments!

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