Shadow Dancer

Shadow Dancer

Set in 1990s Belfast, an active member of the IRA becomes an informant for MI5 in order to protect her son's welfare. 3.6 out of 5 based on 14 reviews
Shadow Dancer

Omniscore:

Certificate 15
Genre Thriller
Director James Marsh
Cast Andrea Riseborough, Clive Owen, Domhnall Gleeson, Aidan Gillen, Gillian Anderson
Studio Paramount UK
Release Date August 2012
Running Time 101 mins
 

Set in 1990s Belfast, an active member of the IRA becomes an informant for MI5 in order to protect her son's welfare.

Reviews

Empire Magazine

Dan Jolin

How real people behave differs from what we expect from movie characters, and Marsh plays on this. There are herrings here as red as Colette’s raincoat. And, as such, the finale comes as a bit of a face-slap.

20/08/2012

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The Evening Standard

David Sexton

What makes Shadow Dancer work so well, [though,] is not the script or the performances but the always interesting way it has been shot, full of intriguing angles, shifting reflections, and carefully chosen focal depths. No conversations are conveyed by lazy over-the-shoulder back-and-forth face-to-faces; every viewpoint and movement has purpose and shapeliness. Few thrillers have anything like so much visual texture — and it’s one of the reasons the film surprises and shocks you before it’s done.

24/08/2012

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The Independent

Geoffrey MacNab

In Shadow Dancer, the two sides are both shown to have dirty hands. The conflict is so deep-rooted that questions of who is in the right or wrong have been forgotten or dismissed. Arguably, the film-makers' attempt to distance themselves from the politics risks leaving Shadow Dancer without a point of view ... Even so, this meticulously crafted drama has the same sense of time and place that made Marsh's episode of Red Riding so absorbing.

24/08/2012

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The New Statesman

Ryan Gilbey

A film that insists that its characters are unknowable is in danger of relegating them to enigmatic specks in the distance but Shadow Dancer gets the balance about right, maintaining the urgency of Collette’s predicament without explaining or sanitising her. Surprises that could have been cataclysmic tend to register here as muted tremors, which is not to say the movie isn’t powerful – only that Marsh is unfashionably interested in aftershock, rather than explosion.

23/08/2012

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The Times

Kate Muir

While this film has the jittery tension of a thriller it is more a study of a community in extremis, living in extreme poverty and exhausted by civil war as the peace process begins. The story is based on a novel written by Tom Bradby, the political editor of ITV, when he was a correspondent in Northern Ireland in the 1990s, and concerns the human detail missed by the evening broadcasts.

24/08/2012

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Total Film

Neil Smith

With Tombstone Features Owen on one hand and the no less readable Riseborough on the other, getting a handle on the two leads is an initially tricky proposition. But without actively courting our empathy the latter ends up winning it anyway, via a canny combo of grace, guts and guile.

31/07/2012

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The Observer

Edmund White

The movie is a little too dogged in avoiding substantive politics. As Kevin Rockett, Luke Gibbons and John Hill observed in Cinema and Ireland, first published back in 1987 and still the best book on the subject, British films about Ireland have mostly "opted to focus on Irish violence while failing to place it in the social and political context which would permit its explanation. And, by doing so, they too have rendered the events with which they deal largely unintelligible."

26/08/2012

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The Sunday Times

Cosmo Landesman

Marsh’s film is simply the best thriller we’ve had in decades. It’s so absorbing, you’ll forget to breathe.

26/08/2012

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The Independent on Sunday

Nicholas Barber

A cloud bank of potential danger hangs over proceedings, but very few scenes are thrilling, in and of themselves. Marsh and Tom Bradby ... imbue their film with a hazy, distancing fatalism, as if it's all happened already, and there's no point getting worked up about it now.

26/08/2012

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The Scotsman

Alistair Harkness

The gut-wrenching tension that makes Shadow Dancer such an enjoyably uncomfortable experience in its early stages gives way to a sluggishness that ultimately makes it hard to endure for all the wrong reasons.

23/08/2012

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The Daily Telegraph

Robbie Collin

A spy thriller in which not one person scales a skyscraper, rides a motorbike into oncoming traffic or blows up a helicopter gunship with a rocket launcher, which suggests that as far as cinema is concerned, summer is now well and truly over.

23/08/2012

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Time Out

Cath Clarke

Sphinx-like, Riseborough keeps us guessing to the end as to where Collette’s true allegiance lies. And while it’s hard to grumble about such a smart, intelligent drama after a summer of big bangs, its slow pace at times feels sluggish.

21/08/2012

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The Financial Times

Nigel Andrews

In reality there would be an IRA snoop behind every grassblade. In a movie, or this one, the Provos must always be two steps behind, like those screen villains who seem to have a tachometer attached to their heels to retard their pursuit of the running hero. Menace comes in short bursts only from David Wilmot’s local IRA commander, convinced enough that Riseborough’s family holds a traitor to waterboard her mentally backward middle brother.

23/08/2012

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The Guardian

Peter Bradshaw

Riseborough's performance is certainly very good, though, and another demonstration of her technique, intelligence and versatility: she is so good at suggesting thoughts and emotions that surface slowly and gradually. And the movie is very good at showing the sheer misery of the time. In one republican pub, a tense notice says: "Singing Not Allowed." Nothing shows the mood of national depression and fear more clearly than that.

23/08/2012

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