Film Review: ‘Shadow Dancer’ with Clive Owen is Tense IRA Thriller

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CHICAGO – Would you betray your cause and the rest of your family tree for the safety of your son? Such is the nightmarish question that Collette must answer in James Marsh’s tense, complex “Shadow Dancer,” a slow-burn thriller that may be a bit too slow at times but builds in power by the final reel. It is On Demand now and opens in New York and Los Angeles on Friday, May 31. It’s worth seeking out. Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

Collette McVeigh (Andrea Riseborough) fights for the Irish Republican Army. It’s not a decision she made. She was born into it. And she was forever changed when she saw her young brother splayed out on their table after being shot in a conflict in 1973. Twenty years later, she is a part of the resistance that continues decades of conflict with bombings around the U.K. We first see her on a train, paranoid, skittish, and holding a suspicious bag that she clearly wants to leave somewhere.

StarRead Brian Tallerico’s full review of “Shadow Dancer” in our reviews section.

Collette’s planned bombing is a bust and she’s grabbed by MI5 in the guise of Mac (a perfectly steely Clive Owen), who presents her with her doomed fate. Go to jail for decades and leave her son behind or turn on her family and everything that she has fought for her entire life. She has no choice. She goes undercover for MI5 in the IRA, turning on her own brothers, Connor (Domnhall Gleeson, son of Brendan) and Gerry (Aiden Gillen, so subdued compared to his “Game of Thrones” performance that some may not even make the connection). Gillian Anderson is brilliant in a smaller role as Mac’s superior at MI5.

“Shadow Dancer” details paranoia and infighting on both sides of the conflict that has torn the United Kingdom apart. We see Connor, Gerry, and the rest of the IRA members in Collette’s world start to become suspicious of their own and we see Mac dealing with misinformation and personality clashes at MI5 as well. Marsh’s film is a thriller that really illustrates how groups fall apart and get nothing done without political motivation. Everyone is being lied to in “Shadow Dancer” and it’s what people don’t tell each other that determines their fate more than what they do.

StarContinue reading for Brian Tallerico’s full “Shadow Dancer” review.

“Shadow Dancer” stars Andrea Riseborough, Clive Owen, Aidan Gillen, Domhnall Gleeson, David Wilmot, Stuart Graham, and Gillian Anderson. It was written by Tom Bradby and directed by James Marsh. It is now available On Demand and will be released in New York & L.A. on May 31, 2013.

Shadow Dancer
Shadow Dancer
Photo credit: Magnolia

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