Shadow Dancer (2012)

I don't properly categorize movies that I review based on the country of origin or the production company. It's a shame, as I would like to see if all of the Irish Film Board movies rated well, and I suspect they would. Mind you, we probably only get the very best that they put out, and they likely put out quite a bit more that are sub-par, but it would be interesting to see the average ratings.

The movie, as you may have guessed, takes place in Ireland. It chronicles Andrea Riseborough's character's life in the IRA from the death of her younger brother when they were children to her active participation in their war against the English. She's a bitter and confused woman who wants to do her part, but she is very conflicted internally, and she plays that part very well.

Clive Owen is the British officer who is responsible for turning Andrea against her brother and the IRA people she deals with. Clive finds himself attracted to her (because this is a movie, and there has to be a romance involved) and he feels quite a bit of responsibility for her protection. Realistically, we are supposed to feel that this humanizes him, but he is the one putting her much further into harm's way than she already was, so he should feel responsible for her.

Gillian Anderson plays Clive's boss. It's nice to see her again - I don't see her much at all these days, but I'm told that she will be in a reboot or remake or resumption of the X-Files. Either way, she plays the heartless government bureaucrat who Clive argues with quite a bit, but she overrules him at every turn, just like the bad captain in so many police dramas.

My main problem with this movie is that I really don't feel anything for pretty much any of the characters. Andrea got herself in this situation, and she only has herself to blame. Clive strong-arms her at every opportunity and puts her life in jeopardy again and again, so who cares about him? Gillian, well, we aren't supposed to care about her, so job done. As for the ancillary characters like Andrea's mother or brother or the IRA guys... they are vague supporting cast that can die or live without significant impact on the viewer.

Direction was okay
Acting was very good
Story was okay
Dialog was weak
Cinematography was okay

Bottom Line: There are better thrillers. There are better IRA movies. There are better movies about Ireland.



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