In Our Name, a film released in December 2010, follows Suzy (a powerful and feisty performance by Joanne Froggatt), a young woman who is a British soldier, on her return from a tour of duty in Iraq. Past the usual flags and party on her arrival to her home, shared with Mark (a believable Mel Raido), also an army squaddy, we learn that not all is as it should be. Suzy behaviour is erratic, she is troubled by something that happened in Iraq. She becomes overprotective towards her daughter, Crass (Chloe Jayne Wilkinson’s nuanced performance for a child of that age is flawless) . We get flashbacks from Iraq, a young girl, of a similar age to Crass, was killed after a ‘heart and minds’ operation went disastrously wrong due to ignorance of the cultural and political Iraqi context.
Suzy becomes paranoid in her desire to protect her child, new locks are installed on the back gate, she flips when she see neighbouring lads attempting to nick her daughter’s bike. An argument ensues in a cab driven by an Asian Muslim after a night out not only exposes Mark’s racism, but leads to an attack onto their house. As a result of it, she moves the child’s bed to their own bedroom, much to the despair of Mark, who has not been able to had had sex with her since her return. In a typically laddish attitude, he accuses her of having an affair with a fellow soldier, Paul. Meanwhile, back at the barracks, her unit’s doctor is also concerned, but she refuses to explain what is in the back of her mind. Her own prospects of promotion are now in jeopardy. However, that does not matter to her. Crass does.
Mark faces and threatens Paul, inadvertently revealing what is really behind his mask. Suzy leads a revenge attack on the taxi driver, but Mark’s racism takes over and the Muslim driver was nearly killed. A horrified Suzy, warned by Paul, finds out what kind of man Mark is, and runs away with Cass, leading to a extremely dangerous situation.
In Our Name, directed and written by Brian Welsh and produced by Michelle Eastwood, is a brilliant film which deals with the unintended consequences of politicians’ decision to wage war on Iraq. It is a clinical yet warm analysis of the breakdown of cultural and ethnic relations in what once were close knit communities as a result of those decisions, resulting on any brake applied either on racism or religious fundamentalism being taken off, with the expected consequences (MI5 warned about them before the outbreak of the war).
The acting conveys clearly the feel of a Yorkshire military home, direction and editing being sharp, and a tight editing contributes to In Our Name to be a little gem which has been largely ignored by the public and the critics.
I have to say, it has gone directly into my 10 Favourite Films of 2010.
To see the trailer, please click here.