Veronica Guerin

Joel Schumacher

BY James KeastPublished Mar 1, 2004

Cate Blanchett (Elizabeth, The Lord of the Rings) shines as always in the titular role of an Irish journalist who is harassed and finally murdered in her quest to investigate the criminal underground of Ireland's rampant drug culture. Unfortunately, in attempting to straddle the line between retelling the true story of an Irish hero and relating a history almost entirely unfamiliar to an American audience, the film by Joel Schumacher glosses over the intricate details of her investigative vigour in favour of a more "thrilling" American-style production. To be sure, Schumacher and uber-producer Jerry Bruckheimer do their best to maintain an Irish tint — shot entirely on location in Dublin using an all Irish cast and crew (save its director, producer and star), the story certainly strikes the heart of Irish culture. (Supposedly, every Irish citizen remembers where they were when they heard of her death.) But the meat of her quest into the belly of the drug beast — and the intricacies of Irish law, since changed, that allowed the richest drug lords to go unprosecuted — are glossed over in a series of over-scored montages. Despite its flaws, Veronica Guerin remains compelling viewing due to Blanchett's heartfelt, complex performance, as she juggles family responsibilities and manages her fear in the face of some truly dangerous men. That those men remain, for the most part, a blur of Irish accents with little to distinguish them from one another — with the exception of noted Irish actor Gerard McSorley as a drug kingpin — is the fault of American filmmakers who don't trust their bread and butter stateside audiences to follow along. Extras, including a "making of" and two commentaries from Schumacher and screenwriters Carol Doyle and Mary Agnes Donoghue, fill out the missing details of Guerin's life, but a "conversation" with Bruckheimer merely confirms impressions of his blowhard personality. Plus: producer's photo diary, deleted scene, Guerin's speech accepting a bravery award from the Committee to Protect Journalists. (Touchstone/Buena Vista)

Latest Coverage