Two ex-government agents turned rival industrial spies have to be at the top of their game when one of their companies prepares to launch a major product. However, they distract each other in more ways than one.
In 1993, the IRA member Collette is arrested in the London tube after leaving a bomb in the facility. MI-5 Agent Mac offers a deal to Collette to become an informer. She accepts the agreement to protect her son and in return Mac offers a new identity to her after a period working for the MI-5. Soon Mac learns that his superior Kate Fletcher is using Collette to protect her mole inside the Irish organization. Mac tries to find the identity of the informer and protect Collette. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Guy Pearce was at one point set to play Mac. See more »
When the car carrying the agents and Collette pulls up underneath an archway to bring her in for questioning, both rear car doors open and both agents and Collette get out. In the next shot, only the right rear car door is open and the agent on the right hand side is open and then Collette and the other agent get out. See more »
Sombre story about the latter days of the Troubles
This is director James Marsh's first fiction movie. He has hitherto been known as a great documentary maker, including last year's excellent Project Nim. In Shadow Dancer he has put together a film set during the Troubles period of Northern Ireland's history. In it a girl with IRA connections is coerced into becoming an informant for MI5. This leads to several compromising and dangerous situations. While the movie is set within a clear political situation, it isn't really a political film. The focus is specifically on the role of the informer in this powder keg context. At the time there were many people in similar situations and the movie tries to look at both the dangers that they found themselves in and the complex moral dilemmas that effected people on all sides of the conflict, both republicans and British intelligence. As such, Shadow Dancer is about people, as opposed to politics and it doesn't really make any subjective comment on rights and wrongs. It's clear that both sides of the fence act in sordid ways. The distrust amongst the high command on both sides is shown to be similar. Civil war is never a simple affair.
It's a well-acted and intelligently written film. It's low-key and pensive rather than a suspenseful thrill-ride. Perhaps it's a little too slow paced and sober for its own good at times but it does gather steam in the final third and things are wrapped up quite effectively by the end with a series of events that fall into place with tragic inevitability.
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