Veronica Guerin (2003) starring Cate Blanchett, Gerard McSorley, Ciarán Hinds, Brenda Fricker, Don Wycherley, Barry Barnes, Simon O'Driscoll directed by Joel Schumacher Movie Review

Veronica Guerin (2003)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Cate Blanchett as Veronica Guerin in Veronica Guerin (2003)

Guerin Warfare

Veronica Guerin was an Irish journalist who following her investigation into the rising Dublin drug industry was gunned down on the 26th June 1996. It is as you may expect her true story which is the basis of the movie "Veronica Guerin" a movie which shows us her investigation from her initial encounter to teenagers buying cheap fixes on their council estate to uncovering the Drug Lords behind the business and in doing so putting herself on the front line when her investigation got close to the truth. It was because of her investigation that following her gunning down on the 26th June 1996 that laws were changed, the public united and the drugs business had had its day in Dublin.

Now that is all well and good and by the sounds of it Guerin's story is a powerful one of a journalist refusing to back down for what she felt was right. The trouble is that for me that doesn't quite come across in "Veronica Guerin" and the only thing I can suggest for this is that "Veronica Guerin" is directed by Joel Schumacher and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. Now Schumacher and Bruckheimer are good at what they do, some of their action thrillers are brilliant but their vision just doesn't convey Guerin's story. Instead what we end up with is a sort of Hollywood-isation of a drama where characters and action is over played instead of delivering the personal drama.

Ciarán Hinds as John Traynor in Veronica Guerin (2003)

To explain, "Veronica Guerin" starts on the 26th June 1996 before going back 2 years, but this opening not only goes for a jokey feel as we see Guerin in court getting off a series of driving offences but then we have action as she is gunned down as she waits at some traffic lights. It immediately makes the movie feel like it is trying to entertain rather than tell her story and this continues through out. When Guerin visits a council estate where we see young children playing with dirty syringes and she bravely confronts not only groups of druggies but also dangerous looking dealers it doesn't get across any fear or emotion but goes for entertainment, portraying Guerin as fearless and almost cocky.

It is a shame because whilst "Veronica Guerin" plays out in exactly the same way, going for scenes designed to entertain rather than explain you do appreciate how much danger Guerin put herself in. It also means that following the story is also hard because we meet various nasty looking guys from a car dealer to a stable owner with his various heavies but the explanation to who they are and how they are connected never really comes. And to really empathise how the vision is wrong there is a scene which sees Guerin talking to a tattooed man about footballer Eric Cantona, it is a small part played by Colin Farrell and seems like it has been thrown in because Colin Farrell was available to play a small part and would possibly attract some people to watch.

As such when it comes to the characters everyone from the dangerous drug lords and criminals to Veronica Guerin seem to have been turned into stereotypes, stereotypes which are 2 dimensional. Oh when we see drug Lord John Gilligan turn violent it is nasty but beyond that we have a cliche crime boss, same with all his heavies. And as for Guerin herself, well she is written as a fearless crusader who doesn't think about the consequences and does what she wants even confronting dangerous men on her own. Maybe Guerin was like this but it seems like the character is not real and unfortunately whilst Cate Blanchett does a good job of delivering this character it just feels like it has been written by Hollywood rather than based on a real person. Having said that it is Blanchett who keeps us watching and without her "Veronica Guerin" would not be the movie it is.

What this all boils down to is that "Veronica Guerin" still gets across that thanks to the bravery of Guerin the drug industry in Dublin changed. But because this movie seems more intent on trying to entertain than tell her story in a realistic way it doesn't do it justice.