Devoid of extended tension or even an emotionally robust climax to justify the deliberate stride Marsh employs, Shadow Dancer rings hollow even while all the pieces seem so substantial when singled out.
The movie eventually wafts into a detective story, which would be doubly effective if only we could hack our way through the thickly coated Irish brogues that render so much of the dialogue incomprehensible.
Riseborough once again transforms herself dramatically, expanding her role as best she can. But neither the hesitant script - adapted by Tom Bradby from his own novel - nor the sluggish tempo give her enough support.
By keeping politics in the background and emphasizing more than a few tenuous relationships, he allows the conflict, mistrust, and dishonesty in both Collette's and Mac's camps to come through without taking sides.