Cate Blanchett, Gerald McSorley, Ciaran Hinds, Colin Farrell
Mary Agnes Donoghue
Okay...I'm going to say something harsh. I've been trying to hold it in...but, I simply can't hold it in any longer. If the real Veronica Guerin was anything like the Guerin portrayed by Cate Blanchett in this Joel Schumacher directed film based on her life...well, there's no gentle way to say it...quite frankly, she deserved to be assassinated.
Now, before you go accusing me of being cruel you have to understand that I don't actually believe that Veronica Guerin was like the Blanchett portrayal. I don't see it as possible. The publicity for this film would have you believe that Guerin was a courageous, inspirational Irish journalist who confronted the drug trade in Ireland and paid for it dearly.
Blanchett's "Guerin" is anything but courageous. Blanchett's Veronica Guerin is ignorant, narcissistic, stupid and, worst of all, downright whiny. I mean, sure, I know Schumacher wants us to realize that she was the "good guy" in this film...she deserved our sympathy. Didn't he realize that he would have gotten this without making her out to be a sniveling baby everytime she gets hit or attacked? I know...I know...it hurts to be physically attacked...it hurts to have your life threatened...your child's welfare threatened...but, geez...I kept expecting at some point during the film that Guerin would become this super-strong, super-vigilant reporter. She never really did...beyond actually knowing how the story transpired, how could I possibly be surprised? Blanchett's Guerin constantly acted whiny, fearful and ignorant even as she was doing supposedly courageous things. It just drove me nuts.
Odd lead portrayal aside, there are things to like about this film. While I don't like where this character when, I liked Blanchett's performance. Though, once again, I couldn't help but keep looking back to Meryl Streep's "Silkwood" performance and how much more brilliant it was in similar circumstances.
I have to fault the direction of Schumacher for many of the problems here...It takes a truly bad director to take such an incredible story and turn it into a merely average film. The film hits you over the head with its "Irish" tones, including music that borders on obnoxious.
Kudos to Gerard McSorley in a supporting role as a drug kingpin, however, beyond his and Blanchett's Golden Globe nominated performance I mostly feel like this film was a missed opportunity to put together a powerhouse film.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic