Conclusion: 'Shadow Dancer' is an appropriately bleak and methodical spy thriller that features great performances and commendable craft. Director James Marsh's understated approach can be a little too slow and vague at times, but the film ultimately leaves a strong impression. The video and audio presentations are both rather modest, but they respect the film's intended style well.
Excerpt: The year is 1993, and the place is London. Collette (Andrea Riseborough, Oblivion ) is a member of the IRA who has just been arrested for her involvement in a failed attempt to bomb a train station. An MI5 Agent named Mac (Clive Owen, Duplicity ) believes that Collette intentionally sabotaged the bombing because she didn't have the nerve to go through with it. Rather then sending her off to prison, he requests that she put in some time as an undercover informant.
Conclusion: Shadow Dancer is a decent story set against a recent epoch that not many Americans would be familiar with outside of a few notable figures here and there. And the performances of the film's stars are decent, but ultimately the story does not rise up to match the caliber of Riseborough and Owen. Technically the disc is fine, and the supplements were a minor surprise, and it is worth checking out for a welcome change of pace. What Do You Think?
Excerpt: “Let me tell you what it’s going to be like. Irish girl, English jail. Every time you want to see your boy, every time he wants to see you, his grandma’s gonna have to load him onto the ferry and drive 400 miles. It’s gonna break his f***in heart.
Conclusion: An involving slow-boiled drama that's likely to fly under most radars, Shadow Dancer warrants a look. Magnolia's Blu-ray is routine but suitable, the shortcomings of its feature presentation seemingly intentional.
Summary: Shadow Dancer is an espionage thriller, but it's nothing like the jittery action films that audiences have come to expect from the genre. Director James Marsh has a documentary background, and his style is a that of a traditional reporter. He observes, then shapes his observations into a narrative. That Marsh is exceptionally gifted in this pursuit can be seen in his Oscar-winning 2008 documentary, Man on Wire .
Excerpt: Shadow Dancer is a dour, delicate downer about an Irish militant who is forced to become a mole for British counter-intelligence. It opens in Belfast in 1973, where a young boy is shot dead while running out to get a pack of cigarettes for his father. Twenty years later, his sister, played by Andrea Riseborough, plants a bomb on a London subway platform.
Excerpt: After an intro set in Belfast in 1973, Shadow Dancer flashes forward 20 years, shifting its action to London and delivering a set piece of imposing skill and power. In nearly wordless fashion, director James Marsh follows a young woman as she boards a train, exits at a Tube station where she drops a suspicious package on the steps, and, sensing danger, sneaks off into a tunnel where she makes her escape from the station, only to be immediately picked up by two MI5...
Summary: Despite solid performances, a slow first half takes away from this otherwise effective drama about an IRA sympathizer whose life becomes more complicated after she’s coerced into spying for MI-5.
Summary: Winner of Best Actress Award at the British Independent Film Awards, James Marsh's "Shadow Dancer" (2012) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Paramount Pictures-UK. The supplemental features on the disc include an original trailer for the film; short featurette; and audio commentary with director James Marsh and writer Tom Brady. In English, with optional English and English SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-Free.