FILM: Shadow Dancer
The story of Shadow Dancer is based in Northern Ireland in the 1990’s. While the political turmoil during this time is set as the backdrop, Shadow Dancer is the story of one woman’s struggle to navigate her way through her brothers’ agendas and her love for her son.
At the start of this dramatic thriller we see Collette McVeigh (Andrea Riseborough), a single mother, arrested for her part in an aborted IRA bomb plot in London. She is then offered a choice by the arresting MI5 officer, Mac (Clive Owen): 25 years in prison or return to Belfast and spy on her hardliner IRA brothers. Knowing she could never leave her son she places her safety in the MI5 officer’s hands and begins to play for the other side. When an IRA secret operation is ambushed suspicions of an informant run rampant and the possibility of Collette getting out alive begins to dwindle. Throughout the film, Riseborough and Owen’s on-screen chemistry is potent. As their character’s relationship grows, viewers discover that Mac will do whatever it takes to uphold his promise to keep Collette alive.
Shadow Dancer moves rather slow at times and certainly isn’t jam-packed with explosions, shouting, cars, and the sheer terror we Americans have come to expect with our thrillers. This UK film however, has a few undeniable twists that are sure to leave viewers thrown. The depth of betrayal that is occurring within this Irish family and the intense tangle Collette and her brothers find themselves in drives home the universal pain and struggle of a family being ripped apart at the seams. In Shadow Dancer a political war is raging throughout the country and viewers are given human faces to depict its ravaging effects. Throughout the film, the McVeigh family is forced to ask themselves whether their love is strong enough to withstand the conflict of the era. And the various answers will surprise you.
Shadow Dancer is based on the book written by Tom Bradby during his time as a TV correspondent in Northern Ireland. The film produced by Chris Coen, Andrew Lowe, and Ed Guiney and directed by acclaimed filmmaker James Marsh (who has also directed Man on Wire and Project Nim) has been screened at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, 2012 Berlin Film Festival, 2012 Chicago International Film Festival, and 2012 Mill Valley Film Festival.
Shadow Dancer starring Andrea Riseborough, Clive Owen, and Gillian Anderson is now in select theaters.