Veronica Guerin, a Dublin journalist, is murdered by two masked gunmen after being acquitted in court on charges of unpaid parking fines. In flashback, we learn that Guerin had been investigating a local drug ring — in particular a mysterious and very violent character named John Gilligan
If the story of a crusading Irish journalist tangling with heavy-duty drug dealers sounds familiar, that's because Veronica Guerin's life and death were documented three years back in When The Sky Falls. John Mackenzie's film, though, was hamstrung by one crucial fact: producer Jerry Bruckheimer had the rights to Guerin's life story sewn up, leaving Mackenzie to fudge the facts with a lead character called 'Sinead Hamilton' and an actress (Joan Allen) slightly too old for the part.
In this family-approved version, however, Cate Blanchett makes a much more appealing and less mythic heroine. She portrays Guerin as a highly complex individual, a suburban mum who loved her family and her football, but who made the mistake of believing her own hype as a bulletproof newshound.
Schumacher handles the drama with surprising restraint and never shies away from the ugly truth of this violent world. The ending may be drawn out and over-sentimental, but this is a thoughtful interpretation of a very modern tragedy.
A moving but gritty story of willpower and sacrifice that stops pleasingly short of a Hollywood varnish-job.
Reviewed by Damon Wise