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Shadow Dancer (2013)



Average Rating: 6.9/10
Reviews Counted: 87
Fresh: 71 | Rotten: 16

A tense, thought-provoking thriller, Shadow Dancer is bolstered by sensitive direction from James Marsh and a terrific performance from Andrea Riseborough.


Average Rating: 6.1/10
Critic Reviews: 21
Fresh: 14 | Rotten: 7

A tense, thought-provoking thriller, Shadow Dancer is bolstered by sensitive direction from James Marsh and a terrific performance from Andrea Riseborough.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 6,970

My Rating

Movie Info

Single mother Collette McVeigh is a Republican living in Belfast with her mother and hardliner IRA brothers. When she is arrested for her part in an aborted IRA bomb plot in London, an MI5 officer (Mac) offers her a choice: lose everything and go to prison for 25 years or return to Belfast to spy on her own family. With her son's life in her hands, Collette chooses to place her trust in Mac and return home, but when her brothers' secret operation is ambushed, suspicions of an informant are


Mystery & Suspense, Drama

Tom Bradby

Aug 20, 2013


Magnolia Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (87) | Top Critics (21) | Fresh (71) | Rotten (16)

The film relies on terse dialogue and boggy colors to create an atmosphere dense with anxiety -- all well handled by director James March.

July 22, 2013 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A respectable political/psychological suspenser, but not a wildly entertaining or enjoyable one.

June 27, 2013 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A tautly minimalist, occasionally generic study of betrayal and family ties.

June 14, 2013 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
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[Riseborough's] work is indrawn and riveting. It's hard to read the look in her eye, but we never stop trying.

June 13, 2013 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
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This British thriller by James Marsh is a little too neatly scripted and tightly edited for my taste, but there are galvanizing performances from Andrea Riseborough... and Clive Owen.

June 13, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
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These are characters for whom true belief in a cause has probably become impossible; they know how much that costs. Marsh does a compelling job of illustrating that for the rest of us.

June 13, 2013 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
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Plays slyly with noir; adroitly twists and turns away from easy expectations in its final minutes. This thriller's got one sharp, savage ending. Marsh takes a black-eyed stare out from the gravestone-gray, waning days of the Troubles.

December 27, 2013 Full Review Source: Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

A grim but measured and intelligent art-house slow-burner.

December 16, 2013 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

The acting in this film is very good. The plot is lean and powerful. It is pretty depressing, but it seems true enough in its depiction of this troubled period of history.

November 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

By the end, the film shows not only the power of this influence but also its terrible price in an often merciless conflict.

November 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Film Comment Magazine
Film Comment Magazine

Despite solid performances, a slow first half takes away from this otherwise effective drama about an IRA sympathizer whose life becomes more complicated after she's coerced into spying for MI-5.

September 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

It's absorbing, intelligent and sad.

June 27, 2013 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Themes ripped from today's headlines lend "The Troubles" of Northern Ireland very tense, sobering, contemporary immediacy. . . Riseborough [is] mesmerizing at first sight.

June 14, 2013 Full Review Source:

[Director James Marsh] shows a deft hand with his actors and elicits a notable performance from [Andrea] Riseborough. The production is straightforward on all fronts and catches the bleakness hovering above Belfast under siege.

June 13, 2013 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

Marsh focuses this slowly simmering drama on more universal themes of family, betrayal and decisions that people make that are both right and wrong at the same time.

June 6, 2013 Full Review Source: Paste Magazine
Paste Magazine

a potent, ultimately disheartening slow-burn drama

June 2, 2013 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

So many situations and plot points seem too sketchy here, but the two main characters manage to intrigue us, thanks to Andrea Riseborough and Clive Owen.

June 1, 2013 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

...a quietly disturbing look at the choices placed before someone who is caught between two worlds, neither offering harbor.

June 1, 2013 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

Shadow Dancer is a quiet film that demands careful attention...

May 31, 2013 Full Review Source: Leonard Maltin's Picks
Leonard Maltin's Picks

Audience Reviews for Shadow Dancer

A captured IRA operative must decide to cooperate with a MI5 officer and betray her family or risk imprisonment.
A slow, stolid, essentially British film, Shadow Dancer is remarkably predictable. Each choice is explored in stereotypical fashion: the MI5 agent talks about the futility of violent resistance and the IRA leverages nationalistic and family loyalty. The performances are good but not extraordinary. Clive Owen is as intense as ever, and Andrea Riseborough is occasionally too stoic to read but not dynamic enough to be worth caring about.
Overall, if there were some surprise at the end, I might look more favorably on the film.
April 20, 2014
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

An uninteresting drama that lacks any surprises and whose bland approach makes it emotionally distant and boring, with a plot that drags, characters who are hard to care about and scenes that should be suspenseful but only feel tedious.
October 21, 2013

Super Reviewer

A slow-paced, though effective look at a member of the IRA (Andrea Riseborough) and how she is forced into a deal with a sympathetic MI5 agent (Clive Owen) to give information to the agency on her family who is involved in the terrorist organization. Definitely not a film for everyone, but ultimately this is a movie I respect tremendously as it goes for realism over excitement, a risk given the nature of these movies and how many directors would have opted for the high-drama and more explosions option instead to please a wider audience. Instead, director James Marsh tells this story straight, and the result is an effective, interesting look on a spy and how she must keep her cover or risk losing everything in the process, but still struggles with feelings of betraying her family. Riseborough and Owen are both fantastic, and the film is a success given the acting coupled with extremely good writing and directing.
October 5, 2013
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

'Shadow Dancer'. A solid thriller centred around sacrifice, set against the bleakness of the IRA. Andrea Riseborough captivates all the way.
October 28, 2012
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Super Reviewer

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