"Sacrificing for Family"
What You Need To Know:
SHADOW DANCER is a brilliant production and brings tension to a storyline that’s been done many times. Collette is forced into an uncomfortable situation that puts her family in jeopardy, but she’s willing to take down a terrorist organization. Mac makes promises to Collette. Then, when the MI5 decides Collette is just collateral damage, Mac puts himself on the line to keep Collette and her son alive. Despite a strong moral worldview, SHADOW DANCER has plenty of foul language and some violent images, so extreme caution is recommended.
(BB, C, H, LLL, VV, N, A, D, M) Strong moral worldview, with some light Christian, redemptive content and references, of fighting and sacrificing for family, a MI5 informant decides to do the right thing to protect his asset from being killed, the Irish family is Catholic, many crucifixes, marred by a morally ambiguous humanist element; 25 obscenities (mostly “f” words) and five profanities; man is shot in the head, another man is forcibly drowned but not killed, and a dead woman is seen lying on the ground; no sexual content but there’s a passionate kiss; upper male nudity; some drinking; light smoking; and, some moral ambiguity with the main character being with the terrorist group.
SHADOW DANCER is a well-produced fictional drama set in 1990s Belfast during the conflict between the IRA of Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
Collette lives with her mother and brothers in Belfast. They are all secret members of the IRA. Collette is sent to London to plant a bomb in a subway, but she’s captured by the MI5. An agent who goes by Mac (Clive Owen) gives her a deal. She can either help MI5 take down the leadership of the IRA, or she can go to prison for 25 years and see her young son get taken away from her.
Not wanting any harm to come to her boy, she agrees to help. Mac sends her back home with instructions to meet with him every week and give him details about the IRA’s plans. Knowing that if she’s caught, she’ll be killed immediately, Collette is cautious back at home. Kevin, one of the IRA leaders, is suspicious of Collette and tries to find what she’s hiding.
Meanwhile, Mac works hard at working with the information Collette is giving her, but his boss seems to be working a different angle on the IRA and isn’t telling Mac. When Mac discovers the MI5 has another informant giving them information, he figures they are using Collette as a scapegoat. Having grown feelings for Collette, he decides to try to get Collette out of the country before the IRA catches her and kills her family.
SHADOW DANCER is a brilliant production and brings tension to a storyline that’s been done many times in film. Collette, played by Andrea Riseborough who is most familiar to Americans for her role in the recent science fiction thriller, OBLIVION, is impossible not to sympathize due to her fantastic performance. Clive Owen doesn’t do anything revolutionary as Mac, except for the fact that he doesn’t get to shoot anyone or blow anything up, which is somewhat new for him. Ironically, this it what makes the movie so masterful. No car chases or gun shoot outs are used to build up tension. Instead, it’s all built from carefully placed sound design and characters and situations that slowly build in pressure as the stakes get higher.
Collette is forced into a uncomfortable situation that puts her entire family in jeopardy, but she’s willing to take down the terrorist organization to do so. Mac makes promises to Collette. Then, when the MI5 decides that Collette is just collateral, Mac puts himself on the line to keep Collette and her son alive.
SHADOW DANCER is less about what side is right and focuses more on sympathizing with the characters. Thus, it’s somewhat morally ambiguous. In the end, our protagonists do the right thing and a family that loves each other refuses to give each other up to the killers. That being said, SHADOW DANCER does have quite a bit of foul language and some violent images, so extreme caution is recommended.