DVD Review – Shadow Dancer (2012)

Shadow Dancer, 2012.

Directed by James Marsh.
Starring Clive Owen, Andrea Riseborough, Gillian Anderson, Aidan Gillen, Domhnall Gleeson, Brid Brennan, David Wilmot, Stuart Graham and Martin McCann.

Shadow Dancer DVD cover


Single mother Collette McVeigh is a Republican living in Belfast with her mother and hardliner IRA brothers. When she is arrested for her part in an aborted IRA bomb plot in London, an MI5 officer (Mac) offers her a choice: lose everything and go to prison for 25 years or return to Belfast to spy on her own family.

Clive Owen and Andrea Riseborough in Shadow Dancer

One of 2012’s better films, sorely overlooked due to its small distribution, comes to DVD and is an absolute must see.

Set in Northern Ireland in 1993, Shadow Dancer is a tightly wound little thriller which pays more time devoted to its characters and their divided loyalties and emotions than a typical film about working undercover might usually allow. The tension is built around the intentions of its lead character, Colette McVeigh, an active member of the IRA who must choose between her cause and her family.

The film is directed by James Marsh who won an Oscar for his outstanding documentary Man on Wire and anyone who saw that knows just how well Marsh can create tension and tell a story. Marsh shoots Shadow Dancer in a controlled handheld style, with dull brown tones evoking a real feel for the depressing feel which weighs down all characters in the film. This is not a happy film but feels very real thanks to Marsh’s direction and the film gives us a story which is believable but not necessarily the ending we expect, or even want, but the ending the story deserves.

Shadow Dancer has all the hallmarks of Marsh becoming a highly accomplished filmmaker and his next effort should be high on everyone’s to-see list, whatever it may be.

Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★

Rohan Morbey – follow me on Twitter.

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