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Sunday, 2 September 2012

Film - Shadow Dancer - directed by James Marsh

Star rating - 7/10

This gritty IRA era conspiracy film boasts a star studded cast, and gets the tone of 1993 heightened anxiety, before the Good Friday Agreement was finally reached, just right. The action starts with a flashback to 1973 when a young boy is shot in the street, a tragic incident which changes the course of many lives.

Andrea Riseborough is excellent as always in her role as Colette McVeigh, a young woman drawn into IRA activity as the young boy in question happened to be her brother. After planting a bomb in London which does not go off, she is caught by the security services, and offered a deal - information for her freedom.  Clive Own plays Mac, the British intelligence officer who offers the deal, and who as a result gets closer to the young Irish mother than he was supposed to.

Their relationship, whilst being one of the driving forces of the action, is also one of the central problems I had, as it just did not feel realistic, no matter how convincing the two central performances are.

There is excellent support from Aiden Gillen and Domhnall Gleeson as her two brothers, who are also involved with the IRA to varying degrees. But the ending when it comes, and I wouldn't dream of spoiling it so don't worry, is confusing and debatable. Indeed the group I was with had several different and contradictory theories about who did what to whom. Which isn't exactly what you want in a thriller of this sort. It's a shame as it started so promisingly , and is a great subject for a film, it just lost its way slightly in the final third.

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