Shadow Dancer

Riseborough’s finest performance
Shadow Dancer
Well established as a masterly documentary maker after Man On Wire and Project Nim, James Marsh’s Shadow Dancer is his first feature-length fictional movie since 2005’s The King (although he also excelled with his segment of Channel 4’s Red Ridings series).

It stars Andrea Riseborough as Colette, a single mother from a family of IRA activists who is arrested as part of a failed bomb plot. After being collared by MI5 officer Mac (Clive Owen), she has a tough decision: spend years in prison away from her son or to return home to Belfast to spy on her siblings.

Shadow Dancer is an atypical thriller: Collette’s spiralling desperation and erratic emotions combine with some obtuse moral quandaries to provide a gnawing tension that overawes a general absence of speedy, bombastic thrills. It also represents Riseborough’s finest performance to date as she encapsulates a soul lost in a whirl of ideology, family ties and devastating dilemmas.

Classily presented in sombre colours and underpinned by a sublime score from former Tinderstick Dickon Hinchliffe, the film’s one weakness can be found in the roots of a romance between the two central figures, which adds an unlikely element of cliché to this otherwise excellent and intricate work.

8/10

Words by BEN HOPKINS




SHADOW DANCER
DIRECTOR JAMES MARSH
RELEASED AUGUST 24th
CERT 15
PARAMOUNT

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