Shadow Dancer

2012, Drama/Mystery & thriller, 1h 42m

91 Reviews 5,000+ Ratings

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critics consensus

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

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Movie Info

Arrested after a failed bombing attempt, a single mother and IRA member (Andrea Riseborough) falls into the hands of a British agent (Clive Owen) who offers her a choice: Spy on her IRA comrades, or spend a long prison term away from her young son.

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Critic Reviews for Shadow Dancer

Audience Reviews for Shadow Dancer

  • Apr 17, 2015
    After Collette(Andrea Riseborough) attempts to bomb a busy London Underground station, she is detained by authorities. At first, it appears that Mac(Clive Owen) just wants to talk with her and share some files and photos with her. That is all in the service of getting her to inform on some of her colleagues who are less than thrilled with the continuing peace process. As leverage, he uses the thought of her son having to travel hundreds of miles to visit her in prison. As much as car chases, gun fights and explosions can hinder a movie when it wants to have an intelligent discussion about an important subject, the banal and uninspired "Shadow Dancer" proves in slow moving abundance how bad the other extreme can be in sucking all of the oxygen out of the room. In this case, it involves people making life and death decisions and watching as other life changing ones are made without any kind of emotional reaction in the least. In the process, this also ends up wasting the talents of Clive Owen and Andrea Riseborough.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Apr 20, 2014
    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 H Super Reviewer
  • Oct 21, 2013
    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 M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 05, 2013
    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 S Super Reviewer

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