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VERONICA GUERIN

This film about a reporterís search for the truth is based on falsehoods. For starters, Irish drug lord John Gilligan (a brilliantly creepy Gerard McSorley), whom the intrepid Dublin muckraker (Cate Blanchett) investigated and who remains a prime suspect in her 1996 murder, was a dealer in marijuana, not heroin. Why should that matter? For one thing, the images of strung-out teens in dank hallways, of children playing with used needles, of parents protesting the epidemic of overdoses, would not have been Guerinís goad in her fatal crusade, and neither would righteous outrage have been her sole motive. Perhaps ambition or other more ambiguous reasons, far more intriguing from a human and dramatic viewpoint, drove her to pursue the story even when it endangered her life and that of her family.

But this is a Jerry Bruckheimer movie directed by Joel Schumacher, and shameless exploitation and cheap sentiment take precedence over difficult truths. Instead of a genuine tale of courage, folly, and corruption, this is a crude cartoon of good versus evil that includes Blanchettís worst performance and a conclusion that is one of the more repulsive pieces of emotional pornography since Bruckheimerís Pearl Harbor. Ciarán Hinds brings a touch of class and authenticity with his redolent portrayal of Guerinís underworld contact, John Traynor, but Guerin deserved better, and audiences do too.


Issue Date: October 17 - 23, 2003
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