Father Adam (Andrzej Chyra) is placed at a rural retreat for wayward teenagers following his latest transfer. Isolated and lonely, Adam tries to distract himself with his work as he aims to rehabilitate young boys who lack the social skills and behaviour to be integrated into society. Before long Adam is battling temptation with the arrival of silent, long-haired Lukasz (Mateusz Kosciukiewicz) who is picked on by the other boys at the retreat and whom turns to the Father for help and guidance. Can Father Adam stay true to his vow of celibacy or will temptation prove too much?
In The Name Of is the latest movie from Magloska Szumowska, perhaps most famous for her debate provoking film Elles. The film is one that moves at a fairly slow pace with lots of things implied and simmering under leaving you to make up your own mind about what you’re watching. Essentially the film is an exploration of the conflicts that come with religion, sexuality and youth. Underlying the main storyline there’s a secondary plot involving the teenagers at the retreat, one of whom may be able to relate to Father Adam much easier than he’d ever let on.
The film’s ending may leave you feeling a little bit mixed. We don’t want to give anything away but we weren’t overly happy with the way that the film concluded. It all felt a bit too neat and tidy for a film that spends so much time slowly unveiling its hand and throwing more than a few challenges in the good Father’s direction.
At the centre of it all is a magnificent performance from Andrzej Chyra as Father Adam. He manages to communicate a lot about his character through relatively few words. He is wholly believable as the conflicted priest who is desperately, and quietly, battling with lust whilst trying to stay true to his calling. Mateusz Kosciukiewicz is similarly fantastic and speaks only through his on screen actions as the silent Lukasz. The relationship that builds between the two men manages to do so with longing glances and meaningful stares.
In The Name Of is a slow-burner but one with plenty to enjoy. Despite the unsatisfactory ending In The Name Of addresses some through-provoking issues and is elevated by its central performances. Szumowska’s direction gives the film a cinematic flair not often seen in gay cinema and she is definitely a master of her craft. With a slightly tighter story and a more realistic ending, In The Name Of could have been an excellent rather than a ‘good’ film.