The picture turns into a kind of stylized morality play about the right and the wrong ways for Irishmen to respond to distorted portraits of their character, and it's terrifically effective.
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In the Name of the Father is as good a compromise of fact and fiction as you could hope for -- and still call it a movie.
Jim Sheridan skillfully interweaves a myriad of subplots and themes into a fast-paced, cohesive whole.
But the acting's so good it frequently transcends the simplicities of the script, and whenever Day-Lewis or Postlethwaite is on-screen the movie crackles.
Sheridan, however, works with such piercing fervor and intelligence that In the Name of the Father just about transcends its tidy moral design.
By the end of the movie, whether or not you're a member of Sinn Fein, the Brits' brutality toward the Conlons will get your Irish up.
He gets much of what he wants, but not all of it, and not all of the time - the film is just too eclectic on occasion, a bit jumpy in its tone and its pacing.
The movie does a harrowing job of showing how, and why, a man might be made to confess to a bombing he didn't commit.