Buena Vista Pictures | Release Date: October 17, 2003
6.8
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Generally favorable reviews based on 19 Ratings
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7
FIlmsareawesomeAug 31, 2011
Respect for Veronica Guerrin, even though, she was been threaten she never gave up of ending the world of corruption and drugs, and she was one of the few to actually have the courage to do it, so although they didn't express it the best wayRespect for Veronica Guerrin, even though, she was been threaten she never gave up of ending the world of corruption and drugs, and she was one of the few to actually have the courage to do it, so although they didn't express it the best way in the film, i though it was very good and it's a shame that a person needs to die for the law to change. Cate Blanchett was perfect as always. Expand
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4
SpangleDec 26, 2016
A largely ineffectual and cliched biographical crime film, Veronica Guerin is simply not a very good film. At times manipulative and always a poor telling of a compelling real life story, the film fails to create intrigue or pathos throughoutA largely ineffectual and cliched biographical crime film, Veronica Guerin is simply not a very good film. At times manipulative and always a poor telling of a compelling real life story, the film fails to create intrigue or pathos throughout due to odd direction from Joel Schumacher. With the film lacking the necessary touch to actually work, Veronica Guerin is doomed from the start to fail. The writing also lets the film down, refusing to elevate beyond the direction and actually explore the characters of Veronica Guerin. For such a cliched person fighting evil type of film, it never explores its character and shows what makes her tick beyond cliched scenes that make her seem like 1000+ different movie characters. However, it would be wrong to say that Cate Blanchett is anything less than great, as usual. She is given practically nothing to chew on, but she knocks it out of the park anyways.

The biggest problem here is the story. Relying upon cliches - the gun shot sequence, any family scene, Guerin facing hatred from citizens, opposition from her paper/government, etc. - the film never argues its case for existing. I have seen this film before and director Joel Schumacher never tells me why it is necessary to watch it again. Had this been a documentary, it could have been far more compelling, but it feels restrained by the biopic formula and Schumacher tries to cram the square-shaped story into the round-shaped biopic formula hole. As a result, the film skims through the story, scenes smash into one another through bad editing, and the film lacks flow as a whole. It is as if Schumacher tried to check off a list of biopic "must haves" while making this film. Thus, it is largely devoid of tension or intrigue, even if its real life story seems compelling on the surface. Through this slipshod filmmaking process, the story's interest is wrung out of it and discarded in favor of emotional manipulation. With scenes of kids doing drugs, out of place torture scenes, abuse, threats against kids, and moments of family telling Veronica to stop, the film tries to get you to feel bad. Even if it the story is true, it never works. It, instead, felt manipulative in how Schumacher tried to create emotion out of thin instead of putting in the time and effort to create characters worth watching. The beginning and ending show this kind of manipulation where Schumacher uses on-screen text and a closing narration in order to skip through pieces of the story and streamline the movie. It ultimately feels incredibly lazy and poorly structured. Rarely are we given the chance to see her write and put things together. Instead, she is handed information through conversations with John Traynor (Ciaran Hinds) and told to stop writing and go to bed by her husband (Barry Barnes). Inevitably, she follows up this request by asking where her kid is, but he is never around or already in bed. This is actually the only character development we get for Veronica: she is a horrible mother who puts her life in danger against her family's wishes and treats her family like utter garbage (see: scene where she flips through the tv in the hospital and ignores her worried husband). Roger Ebert was correct to call her character "egocentric", in spite what the film tries to do by calling her a martyr. This really speaks to the horrible character development as the film focuses far more in on a negative quality of Guerin and seems to demonize her, even though it clearly wishes for us to root for her.

Acting-wise, the film is well done, however. Blanchett is tremendous as the feisty, driven, and horrible mother, Veronica Guerin. As always, she brings power and grace to the role with a great Irish accent. Around her are solid performances, namely Ciaran Hinds. As a drug dealer who is a "small player", Hinds brings a good performance to the table that, alongside Blanchett, is far better than the film itself. Otherwise, the performances are largely nondescript, but hardly bad either. They are simply not noteworthy. In a cameo, Colin Farrell is oddly enjoyable and entirely out of place and distracting. Though his character made me laugh, he served no purpose and it seemed weird to give such a big actor a cameo role in a serious film.

Dull, bland, and cliched, Veronica Guerin is not a good film. Though Cate Blanchett prevents it from being bad, poor characterization, bad editing, and terrible direction, leave the film struggling for air. Joel Schumacher is a capable director at times, such as with A Time to Kill, but his direction does not work here. Instead of intriguing and heartbreaking, Veronica Guerin is boring and manipulative.
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