Veronica Guerin captivates the viewer largely due to the fantastic performance by Cate Blanchett as Irish crime reporter Veronica Guerin and her intriguing story. It succeeds as a stylish thriller and depicts a very authentic portrait of gangland Dublin in the 1990s. But the movie is ultimately an action-packed flick, and therefore does not reach the emotional depths possible from the tragedy of the young journalist’s short life. The film progresses at a quick clip, setting a pace that keeps the audience on its toes, but lacks the reflective moments that would have added more insight into the personal dilemmas and torment of many of the characters.
Guerin’s family and colleagues sit on the sidelines of the film, unable to stop the investigative journalist from her dangerous work and helpless to prevent the movie from reaching its violent conclusion. Brenda Fricker (My Left Foot, The Field) plays Guerin’s mother Bernadette with the kind of humor and tenderness that has defined her career as the typical Irish mother. Although the actors are convincing in their portrayals of drug dealing crime bosses, only Ciaran Hinds (Tomb Raider 2, The Sum of All Fears) as John Tray nor is presented as a fully-rounded, conflicted character who realizes the troublesome position of being both a source for and subject of Guerin’s crime reports. The clever script reveals that as much as his partner in crime John Gilligan has got it in for Guerin, Traynor is having his own game of cat and mouse with the journalist, unbeknownst to her. Veronica Guerin has many action-movie devices which come across as the respective trademarks of the producer Jerry Bruckheimer (Pearl Harbor, Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop,) and director Joel Schumacher (Phone Booth, Batman Forever, Falling Down), The $20 million Disney movie has very high production values, and is an intriguing mix of Hollywood drama and the modern Irish biopic. One of the best crossbreeds of Hollywood and modern Ireland, actor Colin Farrell, even appears in a cameo role as a football fan trying to chat up Guerin. Despite its dramatic shortcomings, the movie is definitely worth seeing. With a strong, complicated woman in the lead role presented in not two but three dimensions, Veronica Guerin provides a substantial dose of entertainment for an evening. ♦