Veronica Guerin

Veronica Guerin
Film review by: Witney Seibold

Veronica Guerin 1
In most films about reporters, the leads are always depicted as noble, heroic, almost mythic figures who sacrifice dignity and sometimes their livelihoods to protect their cause and Bring The Truth To The People. From “All the President’s Men” to “The Insider,” we’re given this vision of the reporter as superhero (or supervillain, as there are always enemy reporters). This is why “Veronica Guerin,” Joel Schumacher’s latest, is so refreshing. Cate Blanchett plays the real-life reporter, killed in 1996 for her stories on Ireland’s plague of drug deaths, as a giddy and happy woman, admittedly not a great writer, a terrible driver, and somewhat irresponsible. Heroes are always more interesting the more flaws they have, and Veronica Guerin is one of the more interesting movie reporters I have seen. A fitting tribute.

I have to mention Cate Blanchett’s performance right off the bat, for it is on her shoulders that the entire film rests. Schumacher does a competent job of stringing together a story and recreating the murky and littered alleyways of Dublin, but all in all the film is a mite bland. When we start stalking through the crime plot, the film is less interesting. We are given colorful underworld characters, notably Gerard McSorley as the kingpin, and the wonderful Ciarán Hinds as the man-tanned, grease-coated informant, who’s large frame seems to take up more space than he feels is comfortable.

Veronica Guerin 2

But the crimes are not as interesting as Veronica herself. She has a mission, but, like most of the more heroic characters in more typical films, she’s not crushing the film under her own ego. She’s simply determined. Her tactics involve finding the criminals’ names herself, approaching them on the street, and directly confronting them. This gets her slugged more than once. But, what moxie!, she continues.

And Blanchett oozes moxie. There is a scene where she, on crutches, hobbles into a strip joint, gives a letter to a bad guy, and hobbles out. I can think of few contemporary actresses who can limp into the center of a mob of half-naked floozies and drug addicts, and still have every eye turn to her.

Published in: on August 13, 2009 at 1:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

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