Veronica Guerin (2003)

JOEL SCHUMACHER

Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBBB

Ireland/United Kingdom/USA, 2003.  , Jerry Bruckheimer Films, Persevere Productions Ltd., World 2000 Entertainment, Irish Film Industry, Merrion Film Productions.  Story by , Screenplay by Carol Doyle, .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Golden Globe Awards 2003.  Toronto International Film Festival 2003.

Cate Blanchett is mesmerizing in this tragic true story of a journalist whose work helped turn the tide of drug-related crime in Dublin in the mid-1990s. Veronica Guerin works for the Sunday Independent as a lightweight feature editor until she convinces her editor to let her pursue heavier subject matter, eventually coming on to the idea of exposing the problems that drug addiction was causing in Dublin’s poor neighbourhoods. Her efforts lead her to discover the identities of drug lords high up in the food chain, men whose desire to remain unnamed will drive them to whatever lengths they need to go to in order to keep her quiet. Guerin must fight these threats to her life as well as Ireland’s ridiculously strict laws against journalists in order to get her story out there and make a difference in a country where five year-olds are injecting themselves with heroin needles.  Director Joel Schumacher and producer Jerry Bruckheimer have definitely veered away from their usual subject matter with this hard-hitting story, one whose screenplay doesn’t delve as deeply into its subject’s work as the other Veronica Guerin movie did (When The Sky Fallswhich featured Joan Allen as a fictionalized version under a different name).  It does, however, give us a richer portrayal of the character, with Blanchett being so captivating in the lead that every aspect of this woman feels carefully etched onto the screen for us to view. Schumacher directs with the most amount of subtlety he’s ever shown since Tigerland, but it is so important that this story be known to the world that it is enough for it to have simply been made, and with very little fictional flourish as well (because, let’s face it, the story is quite sensational enough on its own).

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