Thursday, March 13, 2008

In the Name of the Father

In the Name of the Father (Jim Sheridan, 1993) [6]
No offense to Gerry Conlon and the horrible injustice done to him but I find this story a little boring. What actually happened to him, being framed for an IRA bombing of an British pub in the 1970s and being wrongfully imprisoned for 15 years is a travesty. The filmic account of that is just a story that's been told so many times and in the same strident way that it holds nothing for me. Maybe if I had seen this film upon its initial release I would feel different but now, it's hard to find much film wise to get excited about. Sure, it kept my attention throughout and the performances of Daniel Day-Lewis and Pete Postlethwaite anchor the film and keep it interesting. The problem for me is that film is crafted too much to be about its important message than what's actually in the film. The problem I believe is Jim Sheridan, who I just have no real endearment to as a director. His middlebrow style, heavy on emotionally charged moments, is just something that I've never found intriguing. His utter of lack of any style here hurts the film immensely, essentially wasting large portions of Day-Lewis's performance because the film just clunks along with no real ups of downs. The first half-hour to forty-five minutes are much stronger, mostly because the film propels to Gerry's imprisonment and the film has some freedom. Once everything gets bogged down in the prison scenes, Sheridan almost allows the film to come to a screaming halt. If it wasn't for Day-Lewis and Postlethwaite's endearing interaction with one another, this would be a boring mess. Liberties were taken with Conlon's story and I have no problem with that. I just would have liked to see Sheridan do something a little more adventurous with the film but the film's determination to show how Gerry Conlon was wronged doesn't do justice to his story.

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