Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Movie Review(Veronica Guerin)...

Veronica Guerin

Something which is becoming increasingly commonplace is the inclusion of a short film before the main feature. In the case of Veronica Guerin, this short called ‘Hunted’ by writer/director David Gleeson really impressed. A dark exercise in suspense, it tells the story of a man who listens to a recording of a murdered man describing his last moments. This is a fantastic method for young Irish directors to gain exposure and media attention through established filmmakers.
The film opens by establishing what happened on June 26th 1996, the day that Sunday Independent journalist Veronica Guerin was shot dead. A necessarily disturbing opening, it sets the tone of the picture. Directed by Joel Schumacher (Tigerland, Phone Booth) and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer (Top Gun, The Rock, Pearl Harbour), the movie is both beautifully shot and slickly produced.

The cast is fantastic. Cate Blanchett delivers a solid performance as the title character. Studying videotapes and voice recordings has obviously paid off as she recreates not only the accent, but also the mannerisms of her character. Gerard McSorley is on top form here as he delivers his interpretation of John Gilligan while Ciaran Hinds plays John ‘The Coach’ Traynor. A notable performance from Brenda Fricker, as Veronicas mother Bernie, Colin Farrell’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-him appearance and a scene stealing Paudge Behan, who plays Brian Mehan, round off a great supporting cast.

This film deserves to be seen, simply because the story being told is an interesting one whether you are familiar with the life of Veronica Guerin or not. As we are reminded at the beginning, the film is BASED on a true story so minor factual inconsistencies can be forgiven (Tony Gregory wearing a tie?).

It remains to be seen whether this film can stay afloat among the heavyweight Hollywood movies (Terminator 3, Hulk) upon its U.K release on August 8th and when it takes its U.S. bow on October 17th. Obviously Ireland was always going to give the film its warmest reception, but I hope it receives the recognition it deserves and proves successful overseas, if only to highlight the superb range of acting talent involved.

4 out of 5