Clive Owen and Andrea Riseborough play a high-odds game of spy and spymaster in this gritty, nerve-wracking Belfast thriller. “Director James Marsh (Man on Wire) is working with riveting assurance.” — Hollywood Reporter
Screened as part of NZIFF 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