In the Name of the Father (1993)

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Released 3-Oct-2001

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Production Notes
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1993
Running Time 132:52 (Case: 127)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (72:32) Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Jim Sheridan
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Daniel Day-Lewis
Emma Thompson
Pete Postlethwaite
Case Soft Brackley-Transp
RPI $36.95 Music Trevor Jones


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Portuguese
Danish
Finnish
Swedish
Norwegian
German
Dutch
Czech
Polish
Turkish
Hungarian
Bulgarian
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    In 1974, a bomb exploded inside a pub in Guildford, England. Days before, the government, in a response to IRA bombings that were becoming more prevalent, had instigated the Prevention of Terrorism Act giving the police unprecedented powers to arrest, detain and interrogate suspected terrorists. A few days after the bombing at Guildford, Gerry Conlan, a no-hoper from Ireland, dobbed in by an acquaintance, is arrested in Ireland on suspicion of being one of the bombers responsible. He along with three others, including his friend Paul Hill, are then systematically brutalised into confessing to the bombing. After being found guilty, all four are sentenced to life imprisonment and they become known as the Guildford Four.

    In the Name of the Father is in essence one man's struggle to free himself from unjust imprisonment and to clear the name of his father who died whilst incarcerated for a crime he never committed. The movie is based on Gerry Conlan's own novel, Proven Innocent, an autobiography of his 15 years of incarceration, and his subsequent release after a Court of Appeal determined that vital evidence had been withheld from the defence in regards to his alibi.

    Conlan is played by Daniel Day-Lewis, and is a young man who falls foul of the IRA. While stealing lead from rooftops, British soldiers spot him and believe he's a sniper which almost exposes a secret arms cache that the IRA have hidden nearby. The IRA then warn him off and tell him to leave Ireland for a while, for his own good. His father, Giuseppe Conlan (Pete Postlethwaite), sends him off to England to get him away from trouble, but this only sets off a chain of events with catastrophic consequences for the entire family.

    While in England, Conlan and his friend Paul Hill (John Lynch), stay at a squat in London, where they discover free love and drugs, but incur the disfavour of one of the occupants. After leaving the squat, Conlan robs a prostitute and begins flashing the money around, but his obviousness makes him a target and he's soon being framed for the bombing of the Guildford pub which sets him on the road to self-discovery in the most trying of circumstances. Day-Lewis and Pete Postlethwaite are brilliantly supported by Emma Thompson as Gareth Peirce, the lawyer undertaking his appeal.

    A couple of things to note about the movie:

    Evidently these facts were introduced by the director, Jim Sheridan, who in a London Daily Telegraph interview told how he changed facts, characters and dates to suit his fictional purposes. Still, there can be no denying that this is a superb drama which highlights the frailty of the legal system when exposed to over-zealous and unscrupulous officials who take the law into their own hands for a quick result rather than seeking the truth at all costs.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The opening twenty minutes of this disc are as good as I've seen this movie look in a long time. Unfortunately, the transfer doesn't hold up as well from then on, but this is still a very decent effort overall, with only minor problems for the most part.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced, the same as the theatrical release.

    Early in this movie, I was most pleased by the sharpness and lack of edge enhancement. Unfortunately, this doesn't remain consistent throughout the movie with heavy black lines beginning to appear about sixty minutes in and that annoying white halo effect becoming visible during darker scenes. This isn't to say that there aren't moments of pure quality (most of the court rooms scenes are superb), but it does lower the overall rating considerably. Shadow detail is excellent almost right the way through with only momentary loss of focus causing problems, but this wasn't a transfer issue. Grain is only significant towards the latter part of the movie and even then it can be classified as light at best. There was plenty of fine detail to be had with this transfer and blacks are solid with no noted blooming.

    The best part about this movie is the colour. In a word, it is superb. The palette is so broad and rich that the contrasts from Belfast to the court room are spectacular. It is never over-vibrant but well saturated, with excellent skin tones and no colour bleed.

    Every now and again I thought I saw the slightest hint of macro blocking, but I could never peg it down so I put it down as being from my player rather than the movie. There were a few noticeable flaws in the print, mostly black flecks but the more obvious ones are noted. At 10:12 there appears to be a slight nick that has a distinct red/green colouration. At 12:07 there is an obvious missing piece of emulsion, and a nice spray of flecking at 18:38 and at 18:40. At 20:40 there is an interesting mark on Pete Postlethwaite's face. It looks like a tear that has been repaired but that has left a white outline in the print. At 59:33 there is a ring mark in the top left part of the screen. 71:57 sees another big white fleck while at 60:26 there is a noticeable telecine wobble that lasts for about 2 seconds. The only other real problem I had with this movie was at 67:25. I had the distinct impression that I was watching my NTSC version of the movie with what seemed to be definite motion lag. This was annoying more than anything else.

    The subtitles are reasonably accurate, although they leave a lot of the less important bits out for the sake of brevity. The font used is decent enough and is white with a black border to make it more easily read. The usual positioning is in place here - bottom of the screen - and doesn't distract too much from the flow of the movie.

    The layer change occurs at 72:32 during a scene in a cell as the detective in charge comes to the realisation that the Guilford Four are innocent. There is no sound, and no activity, and it is only noticeable by the slightly longer than expected pause before the next scene. This is another case of expert layer change placing mid-scene.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The default soundtrack for this movie is English Dolby Digital 5.1 at 384 kilobits per second. There is also an optional French track in 5.1 at this bit rate if you prefer. There are also additional tracks in German, Italian and Spanish in Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded at the more modest rate of 192 kilobits per second. For the most part, I listened to the English track, but it was occasionally interesting to listen in French or Italian as a comparison. I couldn't detect too much difference in quality between the French and English soundtracks, but there was a definite bonus listening in 5.1 over the 2.0, especially in regards to the subwoofer activity.

    The dialogue is spotless, although some of the accents might throw you here and there. Daniel Day-Lewis and Pete Postlethwaite dominate the movie for large portions, but they are very clear and articulate speakers who make light work of the brogue. Audio sync was never an issue.

    Great music for a great movie. The opening and closing piece is sung by Bono with a very U2 feel to it. There is a large smattering of Irish music along with bagpipes, drums and various other instruments and lots of incidental music from the period cut into the soundtrack to give it a real period feel. Trevor Jones is credited with the music and his score really drives the movie on occasion and is definitely good value.

    Not used as much as the subwoofer, the surrounds do get a fair share of music which makes the overall effect of the music much fuller with a better envelope. There are some redirected effects, specifically at 23:58 with the bomb blast that really kicks the rears nicely. Unfortunately, this is not a common occurrence, but from a mostly dialogue-driven movie, this wasn't surprising.

    The subwoofer really gets a good work-out in this movie, with lots of redirected bass from the music which keeps the .1 channel working away throughout to good effect.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Production Notes

    Basically 10 pages on the storyline and the making of the movie.

Biographies-Cast & Crew

    Biographies/Filmographies for Daniel Day-Lewis, Emma Thompson, Pete Postlethwaite and Jim Sheridan

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    There are only marginal differences between the Region 1 and Region 4 versions of this movie.

    The Region 4 version has a French Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack whereas the Region 1 version only has a French Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded track. In addition, the Region 4 version gets German, Italian and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded tracks. As far as subtitles go, the Region 4 again gets a bucket-load more, but apart from these minor differences, and slightly different menu setups, the discs are identical, making the choice up to you.

Summary

    In The Name Of The Father is a superb movie that calls into question the very premise on which English justice is based, the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Even though there is bound to be some bias since the movie is heavily based on the writings of one of those subsequently found innocent, Gerry Conlan, there can be no doubt that movies such as this have a lesson we should heed.

    A brilliant cast make the most of solid material and it is backed up with a decent video transfer and a solid, memorable audio track. It's a pity that the extras don't add up to much because a movie like this deserves better.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Carl Berry (read my bio)
Wednesday, October 10, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5006DD, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Xelos (81cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderRotel RSP-976. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationRotel RB 985 MkII
SpeakersJBL TLX16s Front Speakers, Polk Audio LS fx di/bipole Rear Speakers, Polk Audio CS350-LS Centre Speaker, M&KV-75 Subwoofer

Other Reviews
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