When the Sky Falls (2000)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  16 June 2000 (Ireland)
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Fact-based story about Irish crime-investigating reporter Sinead Hamilton, who invaded the Irish underworld and attempted to expose the illegitimate activities she found. Hampered by the ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sinead Hamilton
John Cosgrave (The Runner)
Tom Hamilton
Jimmy Smallhorne ...
Mickey O'Fagan
Gerard Mannix Flynn ...
Dave Hackett (as Gerard Flynn)
Martin Shaughnessy
Des McAleer ...
Jimmy Keaveney
John O'Connor
Gavin Kelty ...
Frank Grimes ...
Paul McCarling
Rúaidhrí Conroy ...
Jamie Thornton
Dessie O'Reilly


Fact-based story about Irish crime-investigating reporter Sinead Hamilton, who invaded the Irish underworld and attempted to expose the illegitimate activities she found. Hampered by the system, a police consort is ineffectual at aiding her despite trying to step outside of the normal bounds. Kevin McNally plays her husband, who hates her activities and the danger in which she places herself. Nonetheless, he grudgingly admires her persistence and encourages her investigation. Written by John Sacksteder <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


when the truth is hidden when the witness is silenced when the sky falls


Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for brutal violence, strong language, drug content and some sexuality | See all certifications »



| |


Release Date:

16 June 2000 (Ireland)  »

Also Known As:

Veronica Guerin  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£62,848 (UK) (16 June 2000)


£271,641 (UK) (30 June 2000)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

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Version of Veronica Guerin (2003) See more »


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User Reviews

Faithful fictionalised account the life and death of a Dublin crime reporter.
19 June 2000 | by (Belfast, Northern Ireland) – See all my reviews

Based on the life and shocking murder of real Irish crime reporter, Veronica Guerin, Joan Allen gives a solid performance as gutsy Sunday Globe hack Sinead Hamilton.

John Mackenzie's film remains largely faithful to its real life inspiration's story and does not hold back on the brutality of the Dublin underworld. Nothing is spared from the slaying of Pete Postlethwaite's Martin Cahill style character Shaughnessy to the chilling death of a young heroin addict in a Dublin nightclub. Funded by Rupert Murdoch's Sky Movies channel in the UK, the movie sometimes struggles to overcome its tight budget and the made for television feel. However in 'The Long Good Friday' director's capable hands, it often succeeds particularly with a spectacular car chase through the centre of Dublin.

Where the film really scores is in its supporting performances - most notably, Jimmy Smallhorne as Hamilton's underworld confidante, Ruairi Conroy as a heroin addict, Liam Cunningham and Postlethwaite as old school crooks and particularly, Gerard Flynn as Hamilton's nemesis Hackett and Gavin Kielty as the skinhead, Tattoo. Mackenzie also somehow manages to wring out decent performances from Patrick Bergin as the frustrated cop, Mackey and Jason Barry as his partner.

If there are drawbacks it is the flatness of the relationship between Hamilton and her husband (Kevin McNally) - oddly reminiscent of the relationship between Lacey and her husband in Cagney and Lacey. The newspaper scenes are also a bit hackneyed - bearing little resemblance to real life newsrooms.

A superior film to Dublin crime pics, Ordinary Decent Criminal and The Vicious Circle, it still falls short of the visual, narrative and performing heights of John Boorman's The General. Nevertheless, When the Sky Falls is still good entertainment and one of the more honest biopics you are likely to see in cinemas this year. It will be interesting to see how this film travels beyond Ireland where Guerin's death caused so much outrage.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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