Film ID:
YFA 5692

IN GOD'S NAME

1974

Visitor Tabs

Description

This is one of several exceptional films made over a seven year period by Bill Davison and winner of Movie Maker's Ten Best and Best Editing.  The film focuses on an IRA bomber whose target is a Belfast cinema, and in doing so, explores the mental conflict of the person who would plant a bomb in a public place.  The film cuts back and forth between a present moment, filmed in black and white, and flashbacks of remorse and to planting the bomb, filmed in colour.  Locations in Hull have been used as a substitute for the streets of Belfast.  

Titles:  Bill Bradley in Bill Davison’s ‘In God’s Name’

The film opens on an empty street with closed shops (Pier Street in Hull), early in the morning. Graffiti is written on a wall, “Up the Pope.”  There is a Ford Cortina parked on the street, next to a large stack of bags on pallets on the pavement, near ‘Boynton & Tate Ltd.’.  A man sits at the wheel of the car, looking anxious and thoughtful.  There is more graffiti: ‘Hang Paisley’ and ‘IRA forever.’  The man gets out of the car, opens the boot, and takes out a shotgun hidden under a blanket.  Taking the shotgun back into the car, he loads it with two cartridges.  He then puts the end of the barrel into his mouth.  But as he goes to pull the trigger he takes it away, clutching at Rosary beads.

In a flashback, he and another man put together the detonating mechanism for a bomb and set the timer.  At the cinema, the man sits inside, and while watching the film, places the bomb under his seat.  He leaves the cinema and walks along the road (Tower Cinema, Anlaby Road and towards the Cecil Cinema).

He is then standing by the quayside looking out, as several boys play on a boat.  He wanders around the derelict area near the quayside, checking his watch, and there are images of the timer on the bomb ticking away.  He then goes into a public phone box and dials a number.  Just as there is an answer from cinema he hears a loud explosion and runs out to the scene, witnessing firefighters, and with the sound of other emergency services in the background.

Back at the wheel of his car, looking dejected, he rubs his head with his hand. The film switches again, to another colour sequence where he wanders around a church yard, with church bells ringing, saying the Rosary.   He is seen seated inside a confessional, and scenes from the previous day flash through his head.  Back in the car, he is again places the end of the barrel of the gun into his mouth, but this time pulls the trigger.  As his outstretched hand clasps a Rosary, the film switches, again in colour, to show statues of Christ and of Mary and the baby Jesus, while Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus plays in the background.  He slumps out of the car, and his blood pours onto the road as Connie Francis sings, ‘When Irish eyes are smiling’.

The film closes with an epigraph from Oliver Cromwell:  “Every man who wages war believes God is on his side – God must often wonder who is on his.”