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Monday, May 27, 2013

Shadow Dancer - Opens in Theaters May 31st, Available Online Now

Shadow Dancer is a British Film by director James Marsh.  Marsh is best known for directing documentaries, including Man on Wire which won an Oscar for Best Documentary in 2009.  Perhaps his success in documentary filmmaking has taught him that a film doesn’t need a lot of spectacle to pull an audience in.

Shadow Dancer definitely does that.  There are no big special effects, action sequences, or even bright colors, except for the main character’s red coat which stands out in an otherwise drab palette, much like the little girl’s red coat in Schindler’s List.  There are some very suspenseful, tense moments and subtle but real emotion.

This film follows Collette McVeigh (Andrea Riseborough), a woman whose family is deeply embedded in the IRA in the 1990’s. Having watched her younger brother die of a gunshot wound as a child, she feels a sense of accountability towards her family and the IRA cause.  She has second thoughts about planting a bomb in the subway and leaves the package but doesn’t set the timer.  Shortly after, she gets picked up by MI5 agents, led by Mac, played by Clive Owen.  Collette is questioned, but she refuses to give up any information.  Mac convinces her that if she does not cooperate and become an informant on her brothers, she will be sent to prison and lose her son. 

Collette feels pressure on all sides and must make some very difficult decisions.  This film is a refreshing change from Hollywood films.  There is no simple answer at the end, and the story goes against what American audiences have come to expect from a movie.  The characters are complicated and elusive, and their relationships are even more complicated and elusive.  Riseborough’s performance is restrained but powerful.   Gillian Anderson also gives a great performance as Kate Fletcher, Mac’s MI5 superior.  

This independent film has made the festival rounds and has won many well-deserved awards for directing and acting.  It is being distributed in a new way that is becoming more popular.  It is already available for online rental before it comes to theaters on May 31st.

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