No Exit?

This is my review of Shadow Dancer [DVD] [2012].

Probably still traumatised by guilt over her part in a tragedy which occurred in her childhood, Colette takes part in terrorist activities as a member of a family with hardline IRA sympathies. When she falls into the hands of British agents, Colette is vulnerable to pressure to become an informer, because of her concern to maintain her relationship with her son.

Set mainly in the 1990s, this tense, complex thriller is visually very effective, creating a strong sense of the close-knit, claustrophobic community from which it is hard for people to break free. We see how John Major's moves to make peace had little appeal to those for whom dissidence has become a way of life.

I did not mind the slow pace of the film and would have found it compelling, despite a few too many twists to be entirely plausible, if certain key events and the identities of some of the characters had been made a little clearer, and if I had been able to hear what the actors were saying. It was not just a question of Irish accents, since Clive Owen and most of his colleagues also mumbled, often incomprehensibly. Only Owen's boss, Gillian Anderson with a posh English accent uttered every word with crystal clarity.

Since Andrea Riseborough in particular puts in a fine sensitive performance as Colette, a woman trapped by circumstance, it is a pity the director did not pay more attention to the vital issue of audibility. If you see this film, make sure it is as a DVD with sub-titles.

⭐⭐⭐ 3 Stars

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