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Shadow Dancer


Stars: Clive Owen, Andrew Riseborough, Aiden Gillen, Gillian Anderson, Domhnall Gleeson

Director: James Marsh

A dreary IRA thriller set in 1993. Twenty years after the death of her younger brother, shot while on an errand she passed on to him, Colette (Riseborough), now with a young son of her own, has become a somewhat reluctant IRA recruit.

On a mission to London, Colette leaves a bomb on the Underground, but fails to set the timer. Picked up by British secret service agent Mac (Owen) she's given the alternative of prison and having her son put into care - surely her mother (Brid Brennan) would look after him? - or spying on her fellow IRA members for the British. Owen falls for Riseborough, but, in this kind of film, happy-ever-after is a mere dot on the horizon.

One or two bursts of action punctuate long stretches of nothing much happening, and dialogue (by Tom Bradby, who also wrote the book on which this is based) is sparse. Riseborough does a lovely, soft Irish accent, but it's often difficult to hear what she's saying. All in all, it's a so-so addition to a much overworked genre.

David Quinlan

UK/Ireland/France 2012. UK Distributor: Paramount. Colour by deluxe.
102 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 19 Aug 2012