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
Throughout the years, the IRA and the 'troubles' in Northern Ireland have been a source of inspiration for countless British and Irish movies. What can 'Shadow Dancer' add to what we already know about this conflict? The answer is: nothing, really. This film isn't about the struggle for freedom, it isn't about catholics and protestants, it isn't even about right or wrong. It's only about suspense. This isn't a political movie, it's a thriller.
In fact, this movie could just as easily have been set in the context of the Italian mafia or a Mexican drugs gang. The story about a young female terrorist who, after a failed bombing attempt, becomes an informant for the authorities to escape a prison sentence, is extremely suspenseful. She lives in constant fear of being discovered, which would almost certainly lead to her execution. 'I am dead', she literally tells her contact at one point.
The film starts off with a clever flash-back, a very intense scene that explains her motivation to become a terrorist. The rest of the film is told in chronological order, with the suspense rising gradually, until the unexpected and dramatic climax.
In a subplot, we see that the British secret service is subject to the same sort of internal discussions, infighting and ego-tripping as the IRA. Clive Owen and Gillian Anderson (nice to see her again!) are fine as secret service persons, but the best acting is done by Andrea Riseborouh as the proud and independent terrorist Collette McVeigh.
The film is also excellent in recreating the atmosphere of the catholic working class neighbourhoods in Belfast (actually, it is shot in Dublin), where terrorism in the 1990's was a part of everyday life. Director James Marsh uses faded colours in many scenes to recreate the rundown streets and interiors.
This is a gripping, intelligent psychological thriller with excellent acting and a plot that will have you hooked from start to finish. I was amazed the IMDb-rating is not higher than 6.6.
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