Veronica Guerin

"Very Good"

Veronica Guerin Review


Before we even get into talking about Veronica Guerin, one thing needs to be made abundantly clear: Cate Blanchett is most likely the greatest actress working in film today. Like pretty much every other performance she has given, Ms. Blanchett (how long it will be before she becomes Dame Blanchett?) buries herself so thoroughly in her role here as a real-life crusading Irish journalist that one wonders how she could ever dig herself out again. As for the movie, it's essentially a vehicle for Blanchett's tour de force performance, and while that's not always a great thing (there are several wasted opportunities in the film) it's not necessarily a bad thing (it stays the hell out of her way).

And from the looks of it, everyone stayed out of Veronica Guerin's way. The real Guerin (her story was previously made as the morose When the Sky Falls, starring Joan Allen) was a star columnist for Dublin's Sunday Independent in the 1990s who decided to start writing about the gangsters behind the explosion of drug trade sweeping across the city. As presented by Blanchett, Guerin was a pretty fearsome, fearless creature, not afraid to simply walk into Dublin's worst slums, stepping over the syringes carpeting the ground, and start asking questions of the junkies and even the dealers. She has a convenient stool pigeon in arch-criminal John "The Coach" Traynor (the marvelous Ciarán Hinds), whom she treats as an underworld rock star of sorts in her column, in exchange for information. It's an education in charm just watching Blanchett stalk into a room, fix on the person she needs to get something out of, be it The Coach, a friendly police detective, or even a member of Parliament, and just about always get what she wants. She's like a bulldozer in a sharp suit. And when Dublin's worst start pressuring her to back off the story - a fist to the face, a bullet through the window of her study - it just adds fuel to the fire.

The film opens with Guerin appearing before a judge for her impressive collection of speeding and parking tickets; having paid the fine, she speeds away in her car, already firing off messages on her cell phone. At home, we see her hunched over her computer, headphones on, practically oblivious to her husband and young son, who don't appreciate her over-involvement in her work, but can't stay angry when she cracks that megawatt smile on them. What's almost most fascinating about this character, and the way she's portrayed by the film, is that in any other (fictional) movie, Guerin would be a man. The dashing, crusading outsider, who loves football and drives like a banshee, with a resentful, terrified spouse at home, and everyone telling her to stop; this is a complex, gender-defiant role that even A-list actresses like Blanchett rarely get to play.

Veronica Guerin also avoids the Erin Brockovich syndrome, in that it refuses to install a halo, even a flawed one, around Guerin's head. She's neglectful of her family, not above flirting with a source, and likely never listened to a single word of advice in her life (yet you'd give up your life story if she sat down and had a drink with you). Also unlike your average Brockovich-style message movie, Veronica Guerin moves like a bullet, clocking in at a lean 98 minutes. There are many more alleys that the film could have gone down, but that would just have given director Joel Schumacher more chances to screw up (this is the man who brought us Bad Company, after all); as it stands, Schumacher gives the film a hard-charging grace, helped considerably by a passionate script and Brendan Galvin's sharp, wintry camerawork. There are a few weak moments where a little more exposition would have given the story more weight, and by the soundtrack-heavy conclusion, many viewers will be suffering from soaring Celtic vocals overload.

Although Veronica Guerin wants viewers to see how unique its titular woman was, and what an amazing impact she had on not just Dublin but all of Ireland, it also drives home an important point about journalists in general. A title at the film's end says that since 1996, 189 journalists around the world have been murdered. Veronica Guerin might have been unique, but what happened to her is unfortunately not.

The DVD adds one deleted scene where Guerin speaks at a government Committee to Protect Journalists -- and footage of the real Guerin at the real Committee. Two audio commentaries (one from Schumacher, one from the writers) are available, as are a pair of making-of documentaries.

And she needs to clean up her freakin' desk!



Veronica Guerin

Facts and Figures

Run time: 92 mins

In Theaters: Friday 17th October 2003

Box Office USA: $1.5M

Distributed by: Buena Vista Distribution Compa

Production compaines: Jerry Bruckheimer Films, Touchstone Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 53%
Fresh: 74 Rotten: 65

IMDB: 6.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Veronica Guerin, as John Gilligan, as John Traynor, as Bernie Guerin, as Tattooed Boy

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

Advertisement
The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.