Shadow dancer is a good solid drama set in the early 1990s. Colette McVeigh is an active member of the IRA and is on a mission to commit an act of terrorism in London. Due to unknown reasons, she has last minute thoughts about the carnage she is about to cause, places the incendiary device in the place least likely to cause harm and to arouse the least suspicion from her IRA colleagues. She is subsequently caught and interrogated by MI5 and sent back to Ireland as a mole, using her son as collateral.
The ensuing drama that unfolds relates to relationships between Colette (played brilliantly by rising star Andrea Riseborough) and her MI5 agent Mac (played solidly by Clive Owen) and the friction between her, her family and other members of the IRA cell, as suspicions start to arise and questions are asked. There’s also double dealing with and distrust within MI5
This bleak drama is set in the often rainy backdrop of damp Belfast, which sets the mood for most of the scenes. One of the most interesting and accurate facts about the film is the technology the agents were using in the 1990s, with large, clumsy PCs taking up half the desk, which also reminds us how recent the volatile peace treaty was signed.
Where the film works is in the often fraught relationships between all the characters, where mistrust of everyone is apparent, as the IRA try to find their mole, tensions rise as does the relationship between Colette and Mac, as well as with Mac and his colleagues
The star of the film is Andrea Riseborough, it is not the dialogue that drives her performance but the angst and frustration shown by her very movements in every scene. The supporting cast are all excellent in their roles too including the ever reliable Gillian Anderson.