Classic Review – In the Name of the Father (1993)

Title – In the Name of the Father (1993)

Director – Jim Sheridan (In America) 

Cast – Daniel Day-Lewis, Pete Postlethwaite, Emma Thompson

Plot – The true story of Gerry (Day-Lewis) and Giuseppe Conlan (Postlethwaite), an Irish son and father who were wrongly accused of an IRA related bombing and subsequently jailed. Seeking too clear their names, the Conlan’s employ the services of English lawyer Gareth Peirce (Thompson) to help them find justice. 

“I will fight on. In the name of my father and of the truth!”

Review by Eddie on 22/09/2021

The crowning achievement in Irish director Jim Sheridan’s career to date, with his film nominated for 7 Oscars in the 1994 Academy Awards ceremony including one for Best Picture and Best Director, the based on the true story In the Name of the Father is an incredibly well acted and scripted drama that nowadays may feel more familiar to viewers than those that watched it with fresh eyes upon release but one that still holds a power over and grip on viewer’s to this day. 

Based around the story of Irish based father and son Gerry and Giuseppe Conlan, two simple souls from Ireland who were unfortunately targeted by British police in relation to an horrific London bombing attack by the IRA in 1974 and alongside other innocent acquittances jailed for heinous crimes they never committed, Father clearly harbors a story Sheridan and his two leading men Daniel Day-Lewis and the late Pete Postlethwaite were passionate about as they bring the Conlan’s story to life. 

As is too be expected from work by quality actors such as Day-Lewis and Postlethwaite, Father’s power and memorability is helped along by their stunning work and it’s sad to think that with Day-Lewis now retired from acting and Postlethwaite having passed away in the years following Father’s release that these performers can no longer give us turns like this and watching the two industry stalwarts join forces as a father and son that at times are at odds against one another but at other times beautifully bonded in love, is the type of high caliber material moviegoers often seek out but rarely find. 

Unlike some of his other big turns in his most famous roles in the likes of Gangs of New York or There Will Be Blood where he chewed scenery and anything else that was in his path in the best possible way, Day-Lewis in particular is a lot different to how we usually expect to see him as the care-free, mischievous and ultimately likeable Gerry, a man who dabbles in petty thievery and partying but is anything but a cold blooded murderer and his turn here is easily up their with some of his best performances in a career that was littered with them. 

Allowing us to get know Gerry before he became a wrongly imprisoned criminal, looking for new opportunities in London as his country of Ireland is torn apart by pointless war and carnage ensures there’s a lot of audience good will for him and his kindly father and while the film never strays off the well-trodden path of these type of fight for justice films that have become a mainstay of Hollywood and other cinema for some time, there’s a quality and heart to Father that will ensure its place in the hearts and minds of audiences for years yet to come. 

Final Say – 

It never does anything in a way we wouldn’t of expected from this type of story but there’s an undeniable power in the Conlan’s story and the performances of Day-Lewis and  Postlethwaite are as good as you could possibly get from two leads. 

4 seat carvings out of 5  

4 responses to “Classic Review – In the Name of the Father (1993)

  1. In The Name Of My Father and The Usual Suspects were the first two films I saw Pete Postlethwaite in. They were excellent introductions for a distinguished actor sadly no longer with us. Thank you for your review of one of the most timeless and important docudramas in our cinema history.

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