Shadow Dancer

“A slow-burning but brilliant thriller about an IRA sympathiser forced to become an informant by MI5.” — Damon Wise, The Guardian

Director: James Marsh
Year: 2012
Country: France, Ireland, UK
Running time: 100 mins
Censor Rating: M - violence, offensive language

Producers: Chris Coen, Andrew Lowe, Ed Guiney
Screenplay: Tom Bradby. Based on his novel
Photography: Rob Hardy
Editor: Jinx Godfrey
Production designer: Jon Henson
Costume designer: Lorna Marie Mugan
Music: Dickon Hinchliffe

With: Andrea Riseborough (Collette), Clive Owen (Mac), Gillian Anderson (Kate Fletcher), Aidan Gillen (Gerry), Domhnall Gleeson (Connor), Bríd Brennan (Ma), David Wilmot (Kevin Mulville), Stuart Graham (Ian Gilmore), Martin McCann (Brendan)

Festivals: Sundance, Berlin 2012

Clive Owen and the riveting Andrea Riseborough play a high-odds game of spy and spymaster in this gritty nerve-wracking thriller. Weary of the violence of her brothers Collette (Riseborough), a young mother and reluctant IRA operative, is trapped into betraying her kin by Owen’s Brit intelligence officer. — BG

“While best known for the documentaries Man on Wire [NZIFF08] and Project Nim [NZIFF11], director James Marsh spreads himself between non-fiction and narrative features. He’s working with riveting assurance in the latter field in Shadow Dancer, a slow-burning, intricately plotted thriller set during a tense transitional period in Northern Ireland.

A television correspondent in that country in the 1990s, Tom Bradby adapted the screenplay from his novel. He brings a coolheaded understanding of the political canvas and a highly disciplined approach to the drama, both of which mesh well with Marsh’s restrained style…

While Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and, to a lesser extent, David Hare’s recent telemovie, Page Eight, indicate a possible resurgence of the British espionage thriller, this is something more intimately combustible. Having the spying take place within a deeply scarred family creates an unsettling dynamic of loyalties and betrayals both personal and political, with the opposing forces of self-preservation and sibling love ratcheting up the tension… The story in itself is first-rate. However, it’s the very measured handling that makes it distinctive… Bradby’s unerringly intelligent script never makes a move that’s not vital to the narrative fabric.” — David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

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