With “Veronica Guerin,” Joel Schumacher takes a break from
action to direct a little-known true story. Veronica Guerin, an
Irish journalist credited with helping diminish the drug world,
finally has her story told in the States.
The movie opens with the attack leading to Guerin’s brutal
death, then flashes back two years earlier to tell the story of the
very public investigation that brought her downfall. In the 1990s,
with Ireland’s drug use at an all time high, Guerin, writing for
Dublin’s Sunday Independent sets aside her government-crime
articles to pursue a head-honcho drug trafficker. Impassioned by
“innocent” drugged-up teens and children playing with old
hypodermic needles, she falls deeper and deeper into the
underground world of drugs eventually leading to the drug lord
himself, John Gilligan (Gerard McSorley).
McSorley is a maddened pocket-sized man who compensates for his
stature with his big mouth. With dialogue like “I’ll kidnap your
boy and ride him,” he adds the right amount of fear and danger.
In addition to McSorley’s colorful role is the remarkable
performance of Cate Blanchett as Guerin. Blanchett, still beautiful
as ever, shows off her acting chops in a hoity-toity BBC get-up.
She’s in almost every scene (an impressive task), which makes sense
considering the hot-dogging character of Guerin. She’s so
determined and self-absorbed, she forgets her understanding husband
and toddler son. She is so worried about appearing fearless that
she loses sight of the real threats to her life.
In parts, the plot is repetitive and uneventful (but then again,
it is based on a real life).
The movie so quickly jumps back and forth between Guerin
questioning an Irish thug to pumping her sources for information
and late nights with her family, that after about 30 minutes, the
inspiration of helping drugged up kids is entirely forgotten.
Despite the often cyclical plot, you find yourself sympathizing
with Guerin’s cause and fighting for the good side so that her
struggle for justice is the motivation for the entire film. By the
end, when the movie catches up with its past, you are attached to
With the help of quality acting, a moving human-interest story
and big names like Schumacher (as well as an unnecessary cameo from
Colin Farrell), “Guerin” just makes the headlines.
Rating: 3 stars