Shadow Dancer (2013)



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

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 … More

Rating: R (for language and some violent content)
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Tom Bradby
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 20, 2013
Box Office: $99.1k
Magnolia Pictures - Official Site


as Kate Fletcher

as Kevin Mulville

as Ian Gilmore

as Young Collette

as Young Gerry

as Young Connor

as Watcher 1

as Watcher 2

as Female Watcher

as Agent 1

as MI5 Officer

as News Reporter

as Liam Hughes

as RUC Officer

as Senior Staff Officer

as Bridget/Safehouse Wo...

as Henderson

as Henderson Wife

as Mulville's Driver/Gu...

as RUC Officer at Hospi...

as Brendan's Girlfriend

as RUC Constable

as Fletcher's Son

as Social Club Barman
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Shadow Dancer

All Critics (87) | Top Critics (21)

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

Full Review… | July 22, 2013
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | June 27, 2013
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | June 14, 2013
Boston Globe
Top Critic

[Riseborough's] work is indrawn and riveting. It's hard to read the look in her eye, but we never stop trying.

Full Review… | June 13, 2013
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | June 13, 2013
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | June 13, 2013
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

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.

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.

Carlos Magalh„es

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.

Dan Schultz
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

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