Saturday 15 April 2023

Movie Review: Veronica Guerin (2003)

Genre: Biographical Crime Drama
Director: Joel Schumacher
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Ciaran Hinds, Gerard McSorley
Running Time: 98 minutes

Synopsis: In Ireland of the 1990s, a heroin epidemic is ravaging youth in poor neighbourhoods. Veronica Guerin is the crime reporter for the Sunday Independent newspaper and starts to investigate gang leader Martin Cahill, who is then promptly killed. Veronica's underworld contact John Traynor (Ciaran Hinds) points the finger at rival gangster Gerry Hutch, but in fact it is ruthless crime boss John Gilligan (Gerard McSorley) who is intent on dominating the drug trade. As Veronica digs into Gilligan's affairs, her life is threatened. 

What Works Well: Based on actual events that shocked Ireland and prompted sweeping proceeds-of-crime law reforms, this gangland exposition is fueled by a reporter's bravura. Director Joel Schumacher confronts the grim toll of drugs igniting agony and violence at street level while yielding massive profits for the criminal pyramid leaders. Cate Blanchett exhibits endless energy and resolve in the lead role as Veronica Guerin barges through the front door of the drugs business, bluntly seeking answers from gangsters, police officers, and policymakers tolerating lax laws. Colin Farrell appears in a small role.

What Does Not Work As Well: More a chronicling of events than a stirring narrative, the character evolutions are limited, and almost everyone starts and finishes the movie in the same emotional space. The attempts to humanize Veronica's home life are unimaginatively repetitive, while the supporting characters (mostly thugs and bland officials) are poorly defined and abandoned in one dimension. 

Conclusion: The subject matter is potent and the central character radiant, but the overall treatment is lackluster.

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