Veronica Guerin

2003, Biography/Drama, 1h 38m

142 Reviews 5,000+ Ratings

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Cate Blanchett gives another great performance in a movie that doesn't shed much light on its title character. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

In this true story, Veronica Guerin (Cate Blanchett) is an investigative reporter for an Irish newspaper. As the drug trade begins to bleed into the mainstream, Guerin decides to take on and expose those responsible. Beginning at the bottom with addicts, Guerin then gets in touch with John Traynor (Ciarán Hinds), a paranoid informant. Not without some prodding, Traynor leads her to John Gilligan (Gerard McSorley), the ruthless head of the operation, who does not take kindly to Guerin's nosing.

Cast & Crew

Cate Blanchett
Veronica Guerin
Gerard McSorley
John Gilligan
Ciarán Hinds
John Traynor
Brenda Fricker
Bernadette Guerin
Barry Barnes
Graham Turley
David Herlihy
Peter "Fatso" Mitchell
Karl Shiels
Gilligan Gang Member #1
Barry McEvoy
Gilligan Gang Member #2
Gerry O'Brien
Marlin Cahill - The General
Simon O'Driscoll
Cathal Guerin
Colin Farrell
Tattooed Boy
Carol Doyle
Screenwriter
Chad Oman
Executive Producer
Mike Stenson
Executive Producer
Ned Dowd
Executive Producer
Brendan Galvin
Director of Photography
Nathan Crowley
Production Designer
David Gamble
Film Editor
Joan Bergin
Costume Designer
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News & Interviews for Veronica Guerin

Critic Reviews for Veronica Guerin

All Critics (142) | Top Critics (40) | Fresh (75) | Rotten (67)

Audience Reviews for Veronica Guerin

  • Sep 21, 2014
    "Well, I used to know a girl, and I would have sworn that her name was Veronica... Guerin!" First it was "Michael Collins", and now we come to the second installment in the "Biopic Whose Title Features the Full Name of an Irish Figure" trilogy! Yeah, this film is much less Irish than its predecessor, because it stars an Aussie, and both its director and producer are American. Yup, Joel Schumacher directs this Jerry Bruckheimer production, so this is either a massive, high-profile blockbuster... or something of a critical flop. Now, this may not exactly be a critical flop, but it is a commercial flop, because it cost about $17 million, or rather, about half of the change in Bruckheimer's back pocket, and it barely made just over half of that back worldwide. That's right, not even Ireland was flocking to see this, probably either because they wanted an actual Irishwoman in the title role, or because even they got nervous about the quality of this film when they saw Schumacher's and Bruckheimer's names attached. Well, I for one liked this just fine, but, yeah, it does get a little flimsy, even in its focus. The film focuses, not simply on Veronica Guerin, but on other angles in affairs regarding Irish drug trades of the 1990s, with particular attention towards the gangsters conducting the trades, and I kind of admire that ambition, but in execution, the film's focus jars all about the place, uncertain about which route to take, largely because it's uncertain about the pace it should take along the paths. A fair bit of the film is steady in momentum, or at least blandly draggy, but if a runtime of just over 90 minutes sounds too short for a film following subject matter this weighty, then you're on the money, because more than anything else, the storytelling sustains a busy, heavy-handed pace that is made all the more aggravating when it forcibly breaks the slow-downs, and always drives the plot forward with a monotony that wears you down something fierce. If nothing else, the business comes at the expense of exposition, seeing the film rush along its points, following what should have been a place for immediate development that is all but abandoned, thus, screenwriters Carol Doyle and Mary Agnes Donoghue try to make up for characterization shortcomings by resorting to molding thin character types. The antagonists may be particularly cartoonish, but even the leads are lacking in layers within this thin character study, whose contrivances do not end with the characterization, thriving on somewhat improbable happenings that at least feel histrionic when backed by Joel Schumacher's overwrought atmosphere, a reflection on overstylization in the director's efforts. The direction is overblown pretty much across the board, and although it matches ambition with inspiration enough to beget some compelling moments, Schumacher tries too hard to salvage depth from a superficial and flimsy script, and from a story that, no matter how conceptually worthy, is too blasted unoriginal to deeply enthrall. If this basic story about drug trades and journalism doesn't feel generic in the context of a film narrative, then the storytellers make it feel trite, hitting the usual contrivances and tropes, and doing so at a terribly incoherent pace, with terribly incoherent focus, challenging your investment every step of the way. Potential is betrayed time and again, but not entirely at the expense of one's investment, which is shaken, yet never lost, at least when it comes to style. Harry Gregson-Williams is a very gifted score composer who can deliver on punchy pieces and powerful symphonies, and here, when the soundtrack gets rather action-oriented, it gets cheesily overstylized, and often falls behind the relative slow spells in order to establish some sense of nervousness, yet when things get more tasteful, they see a very unique blend of Irish music styles and modern classicism that is pretty powerful, complimenting the weight of the dramatics, while tensions are complimented by Brendan Galvin's handsomely bleak cinematography. The score work and cinematography, while not necessarily stellar, have solid highlights which define the effective aspects of a mostly overblown style, defined by flashy plays on visuals and editing, by David Gamble. These stylistic bloatings are the fault of Joel Schumacher, whose direction is heavy-handed and flimsy in its pacing, contrivances and tropes, and yet, the directorial hiccups reflect, not so much a laziness, but too much ambition, which does go fulfilled often enough, through intense heights in gritty style and atmospherics that peak with a surprisingly powerful ending, to make for a reasonably effective dramatic thriller. At the very least, whether he's proving genuinely effective, or getting rather frantic with his ambition, Schumacher delivers on pure entertainment value throughout the course of this superficial, but lively affair, and that, to some extent, endears you to the deeper areas of potential within this film's subject matter. Veronica Guerin's is a story that has been experienced by many journalists seeking to shine a light of troublesome and dangerous matter, and more than a few of those journalists have been brought to the screen, thus, this film's story is nothing new, and its potential is further obscured through a problematic interpretation, but it is still worthy, whether it be focusing on the brutality and intrigue of the Irish drug trades of the 1990s themselves, or on a charming woman who has to get serious for the safety of society, even if that means threats to her own safety. If nothing else convinces you of this contrived film's human depths, then it is the performances, all of which are pretty strong, with Cate Blanchett, of course, standing out, with a convincing Irish accent, and a charm that sells the lightheartedness of the titular lead which is brought too much to light for too often, until tension thicken, allowing Blanchett to do a better job than the writers of projecting a sense of strength and fear in a woman who is threatened, but remains passionate about doing good. Blanchett is unsurprisingly solid, about as much, if not more so than anything else in this messy film, which remains endearing enough to entertain and occasionally compel, even if it could have done so much more. Uneven in focus and pacing, often intensely, with underdeveloped character types, contrivances and genericisms, the final product ultimately collapses as a decidedly underwhelming take on worthy subject matter, done enough justice by highlights in entertaining and sometimes effective direction that works fairly well with Harry Gregson-Williams' strongly heartfelt score work and Brendan Galvin's handsomely bleak cinematography, and by a talented cast that Cate Blanchett stands out from to secure Joel Schumacher's "Veronica Guerin" as a decent, entertaining and sometimes truly engrossing, if ultimately thoroughly improvable drama. 2.5/5 - Fair
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Mar 02, 2012
    As a slice of Irish history (the 1990's) this star vehicle is invaluable, swapping the quaint and rustic land o'leprechans movie Ireland usually seen for a truer portrait, peopled by normal modern folk. But, they've left out why anyone would make the sacrifices this woman made, leaving a too slick biopic instead. Blanchett delivers nonetheless.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Oct 02, 2011
    Cate Blanchett's top tour de force to date, completely convincing as intrepid journalist who gave her life in pursuit of a story she felt compelled to expose (the rampant Dublin drug scene) but everyone around her tried to discourage. Joel Schumacher pulls a "where'd that come from??" effort behind the camera crafting a gripping movie experience without pandering to the audience nor putting its heroine on a pedestal. That's thanks in large part to Blanchett who infuses Veronica with nuances and faults that give us a three-dimensional picture - she's beyond Oscar-worthy here, she was Oscar-deserving.
    Doctor S Super Reviewer
  • Nov 27, 2009
    `Veronica Geurin' is a powerful, rousing fast-based story that leaves an unsurprisingly bad taste. Cate Blanchett is simply outstanding in her role.
    John M Super Reviewer

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