In The Name Of

In Films by Dan Clay

Anyone who saw Thomas Vinterberg’s powerful The Hunt last year will know how things turn out when communities turn against one of their own. Elles director Malgorzata Szumowska explores a similar idea in this tale of moral dilemmas and uncomfortable choices.

Father Adam (Andrzej Chyra) is a respected and devout Priest in a small Polish country parish. Heavily involved in the life of the village he secretly wrestles with his own sexuality, unsure how the village will react if discovered. However, when they do it’s not long before their beloved friend becomes a spurned enemy.

So while stories involving secretly gay priests are hardly nothing that eye-raising any more, Szumowska’s tale benefits from a committed and strong central performance from Chyra and a leisurely pace which actually benefits the storytelling, allowing plenty of time and space to develop and flesh out the characters.

While Chyra is coming to terms with his feelings and faith he’s drawn to the near silent Lukasz (Mateusz Kosciukiewicz), coming to his aid when he’s attacked by the rough local boys. Of course it’s not long before feelings develop between the two and Father Adam is forced to make a difficult decision.

Given the more difficult role, Kosciukiewicz manages to inject Lukasz with a brooding mystery, something which only unravels to reveal his true motivation in the final shot. His scenes with Chyra share a believable chemistry, building towards a satisfying conclusion.

The supporting cast and story might lack the bitter recriminations of The Hunt (and indeed a stand out confrontation moment) but this is a powerful, involving film whose message will certainly linger once the credits roll.

In essence, In The Name Of is well acted with a genuinely captivating storyline that, like The Hunt, feels timelessly relevant in this media witch-hunt age.