Shadow Dancer – Review
This story of an IRA terrorist (Andrea Riseborough) who is captured by MI5 and sent back to be an informant after striking a tenuous deal with her handler (Clive Owen) looked incredibly thrilling and suspenseful in the trailer I saw a few months ago. I even scribbled down the title so I would remember to give it a watch when it came out on DVD. Well, the trailer monkeys got me on this one. It was a fair movie, with excellent acting; I particularly enjoyed Gillian Anderson (of X-Files fame) in her supporting role as Mac’s (Owen) spy superior, but on the whole the film just really dragged for me, and it was only an hour forty.
Director James Marsh has been largely a documentary filmmaker, and you can see evidence of his past in the camera work on Shadow Dancer. Sometimes it worked for me, sometimes it didn’t. There were several scenes where the hand held camerawork poked at my already numbing, headached brain. The camera work did make the movie seem very “real”, as though we were seeing an actual event take place, but that realism also slowed the film down a lot. The characters seemed only half developed, and I wasn’t really feeling any reason to empathize with any of them. There were some neat espionage twists along the way, but barely enough to keep my interest. The twists did make the ending a surprise, but there was no real closure brought about.
Sadly, the film had potential, but I really can’t find too many reasons to recommend it. I suppose if you are a giant Clive Owen or Gillian Anderson fan there is reason enough for you. I haven’t seen any of Andrea Riseborough’s other films, so I really don’t know how popular she is, but if you’re a fan of hers, that’s another great reason to see Shadow Dancer, as she (along with the rest of the cast) did their jobs excellently.