In the Name Of
In a working-class, god-forsaken small village in Poland, a priest runs a centre for delinquent boys as an alternative to detention. Some troubled youths are much more disturbed than others, and we see streaks of dangerous behaviour among the swearing and tomfoolery.
The priest, Adam, manages the boys well, sorting their fights and making them more or less toe the line. Poland is still a very religious country, and despite their criminality, the boys take confession and know enough to hide their drinking and drug taking from the priest. Although caring, thoughtful and capable, we soon see that Adam has plenty of demons of his own to deal with, and there rears a suggestion of some trouble in his past.
The film is uneven to the point of confusion, with many changes of styles of filming, music and views that become distracting. The camera is often extremely close to the characters, and sometimes handheld, which makes viewing challenging. And yet at other, fewer times, we get great cinematic views of the countryside, accompanied by intense string music, but with no consistency or thematic reason. It follows certain characters for a while, and then leaves them unresolved. However, the main narrative of the priest and his self-destruction is remarkable. Rarely on film has there been a scene with someone so determined to get horribly drunk. Drunk on film is usually a joke – here it is despair. Andrzej Chyra as Adam is completely convincing as a man in meltdown from the inside, while Mateusz Kościukiewicz as the young man of his downfall is both riveting and odd.
In the Name Of is very much about sex, sexual desire and tension, and Adam’s struggle to deal with his feelings amid his genuine spiritual vocation. Sex of any sort and priesthood are supposedly incompatible, especially homosexuality with men young enough to make him a paedophile. It is not Adam’s hypocrisy but the Catholic Church’s that the film judges, and the closing scene remains a searing comment and criticism of that and the cycles of abuse that can only continue.
In the Name Of is released nationwide on 27th September 2013.
Watch the trailer for In the Name Of here: