IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER
Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the emergence of the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland.
Jim Sheridan followed the success of My Left Foot (1989) and The Field (1990) with this searing representation of the arrest, trial and eventual acquittal of the Guildford Four, wrongfully convicted for the 1974 pub bombings in one of the British legal system’s most egregious miscarriages of justice. It’s Sheridan’s angriest film, and boasts excellent performances from Daniel Day-Lewis as Gerry Conlon and Pete Postlethwaite as his father, Giuseppe, who tragically died in prison.
The film isn’t 100% accurate – it considerably overplays the role of lawyer Gareth Peirce (Emma Thompson) in clearing the innocent prisoners’ names – but its ferocious criticism of a grave injustice make it a great political work, and a deserving winner of the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. Sheridan, Day-Lewis, Postlethwaite, Thompson and the film itself were all nominated for Oscars.
Won the Golden Bear at the 1994 Berlin Film Festival, and nominated for 7 Oscars.
“Jim Sheridan skilfully interweaves a myriad of subplots and themes into a fast-paced, cohesive whole. He tells of the setup, the corrupt police investigation, the first trial with its various perjuries and cover-ups, fifteen years of prison life, and the second trial. Each character is remarkably realised, and no situation is presented without the shades of grey that differentiate potent drama for its weaker imitations.” James Berardinelli, Reelview