Shadow Dancer

THRILLER; 1hr 39min

STARRING: Clive Owen, Andrea Riseborough, Gillian Anderson

Lady in code red: Owen and Riseborough

Collette McVeigh (Riseborough) is the single mother of a young son and a morally conflicted IRA member in 1993 Belfast. But she’s a mother above all else, so when MI5 agent Mac (Owen) makes her the proverbial can’t-refuse offer — to spy on her hardline brothers and report back to him., or face a lifetime in prison for her part in a failed London Underground bombing — she grudgingly accepts it.


By anybody’s reckoning, it’s a devil-and-deep-sea choice. Collette is now in mortal danger, her sole ally a stranger. For his part, Mac struggles to keep her safe: his zealous boss (Anderson) wants the McVeigh team off the streets, regardless of consequences that shape up as far uglier than they first appear.


Director James Marsh sharpens the suspense angles by granting the characters ample time to breathe. Riseborough, on whose slight shoulders the disquieting weight rests, emotes primarily in silence, playing Collette with the mournful stealth of a trapped animal for whom hope is an abstract concept and desperate measures a cold-blooded, everyday decision.