"Powerful story aided by solid performances all round"
Veronica Guerin is the story of a journalist who was utterly committed to her profession and understood how powerful the media could be in changing the public’s view on political and social issues. Unfortunately this dedication led to her death when, in June 1996, she was violently gunned down by drug dealers who were less than happy with her exposé on their criminal world.The film commences a couple of years before her death when Guerin visits some of Dublin’s slums and sees the devastating effect that heroin is having on some very young lives. Sickened by the fact that these kids’ lives are being destroyed whilst the pushers and kingpins get incredibly rich, Guerin begins a personal crusade to find out who is responsible for the flood of heroin onto Dublin’s streets and report her findings via the newspaper she works for. Her fearless campaign takes her into the seedy underbelly of Dublin as she seeks answers from shady characters low in the food chain. Her stories not only upset the dealers but also politicians who also take a dislike to her reporting style as she not only fights to crush the heroin trade but is also determined to change legislation that makes the dealers seemingly untouchable.
As Guerin manages to increasingly displease the criminal underworld, the death threats begin which only seem to fuel her cause. Even after a warning shot through her home office window, being shot in the leg and beaten to a pulp on separate occasions she continues with her investigations. This is despite the fact that she has a loving family and concerned colleagues who beg her to stop. It could be considered irresponsible that she did continue, particularly being the mother of a young boy – but then again her battle was to make a Dublin a safer place and save young people from the shattering effects of heroin.
Schumacher is continuing on a good path with a string of lower budget, character driven stories (Flawless, Tigerland, Phone Booth) that rely more on interesting dialogue rather than action and special effects…well, aside from Bad Company…which can easily be erased from memory. Veronica Guerin is surprisingly gritty and authentic in feel considering it is directed and produced by Hollywood big guns. Cate Blanchett puts in fantastic performance with her portrayal of Guerin and convincingly nails the Irish accent. Stlawart Irish actors Ciarán Hinds and Gerard McSorley also put in solid performances as two criminals instrumental in the death of Guerin.Minor flaws aside, the story of Veronica Guerin is an important one. It is successful in showing that such strong beliefs and dedication to a cause can have a significant effect on society for the better - even when it ends in tragedy.