Why? While Egoyan is a master at working with cryptic source material, Felicia's Journey lends itself more to its source as a novel than the big screen. Basically, this is the story of two people. First is Felicia (Cassidy), an Irish lass who's travelled to the U.K. to search for the father of her unborn child. Along the way she encounters Joseph Hilditch (Hoskins), a sweet and friendly "catering director" who hides a secret that other critics will undoubtedly reveal, but I won't.
Continue reading: Felicia's Journey Review
It's a compelling idea, with handheld digital cameras swooping around the actors as the Derry citizens prepare for the march. It has the lived-in quality of any rally you've ever been to, with stressed-out volunteers trying to coordinate the herd. The performances are naturalistic and unshowy, with a committed performance by James Nesbitt as Protestant activist Ivan Cooper (whose everyman mug and receding hairline make him a believably workaday hero). There's a surprising lack of self-righteousness in the proceedings, for the most part fairly handling the British officers and soldiers caught up in gung-ho tension and resentment for being there in the first place. And the Irish aren't given a halo, with IRA thugs working their way through the crowd and stupid kid hooligans throwing stones during the "peaceful" march.
Continue reading: Bloody Sunday Review
And from the looks of it, everyone stayed out of Veronica Guerin's way. The real Guerin (her story was previously made as the morose When the Sky Falls, starring Joan Allen) was a star columnist for Dublin's Sunday Independent in the 1990s who decided to start writing about the gangsters behind the explosion of drug trade sweeping across the city. As presented by Blanchett, Guerin was a pretty fearsome, fearless creature, not afraid to simply walk into Dublin's worst slums, stepping over the syringes carpeting the ground, and start asking questions of the junkies and even the dealers. She has a convenient stool pigeon in arch-criminal John "The Coach" Traynor (the marvelous Ciarán Hinds), whom she treats as an underworld rock star of sorts in her column, in exchange for information. It's an education in charm just watching Blanchett stalk into a room, fix on the person she needs to get something out of, be it The Coach, a friendly police detective, or even a member of Parliament, and just about always get what she wants. She's like a bulldozer in a sharp suit. And when Dublin's worst start pressuring her to back off the story - a fist to the face, a bullet through the window of her study - it just adds fuel to the fire.
Continue reading: Veronica Guerin Review
Set in the year 1967, the film follows the struggles of Agnes Brown, (Anjelica Huston) a recent widow battling to keep her irregularly large family intact (six boys and a girl, ranging in age from 2 to 14). In order to give her husband the funeral he deserves, Agnes must borrow money from the menacing loan shark Mr. Billy (Ray Winstone). As she attempts to pay him back in weekly installments, he terrorizes her and her small children at every street corner. To make ends meet, Agnes sells fruit and vegetables on the street along with her best friend Marion Monks (Marion O'Dwyer). The two are inseparable and Marion is, ironically enough, Anjelica's guardian angel, as she brightens Agnes life and helps her in times of desperate need. When Pierre (Arno Chevrier, a Gerard Depardieu look-alike) comes along in the form of a neighborhood French baker and takes an interest in Agnes, sparks fly as she tries to forge a personal life of her own with the possibility of newfound love, all while dealing with the nuisance of seven hellion children.
Continue reading: Agnes Browne Review
Based on the John Le Carre novel of the same name, thefilm's politics are couched in a brutal and twist-filled murder mystery.Ralph Fiennes plays Justin Quayle, a dry, charmingly wonky English diplomatwhose bottled adoration for his eye-catching young wife (Rachel Weisz)-- an impetuous, impassioned human rights activist his colleagues hopehe won't bring to parties -- becomes dangerously uncorked when she is killedand mutilated while on an aid mission.
Realizing there's more to her death than meets the eyewhen his inquiries for more information are deflected by even his closestassociates -- and suspecting she may have been up to something more aswell -- Quayle drops off the diplomatic radar and begins a dangerous amateurinvestigation that puts him in the crosshairs of corrupt politicians, corporatestooges and ruthless warlords.
Directed by Fernando Meirelles with the same unblinking,sweaty, ground-level grittiness he brought to "City of God,"his brilliant verite expose of Brazilian poverty, "The Constant Gardener"becomes an incredible puzzle with far-flung pieces that Quayle must linktogether with tenuous but damning evidence. And whether he travels to Londonor hitches a lift with the Red Cross to a remote village in Kenya devastatedby disease (in order to interrogate a particular doctor), he's under suchconstant threat that in some scenes it feels as if any background actorcould be a hired killer closing in.
Continue reading: The Constant Gardener Review
In 1996, high-profile anti-drug crusading Irish journalist Veronica Guerin was violently gunned down in broad daylight at a highway crossing. The event galvanized the island nation, resulted in a sweeping take-back-the-streets campaign in the Dublin slums and led to constitutional changes allowing the freezing of assets and seizure of "unexplained wealth" from suspected drug kingpins.
But Guerin's one-woman uphill battle against the nation's deeply entrenched criminal element might seem like the stuff of TV movies if it weren't for the warmth and tenacity of Cate Blanchett's beautifully well-rounded starring performance and the unblinking starkness of director Joel Schumacher's gritty account of the events leading to her death.
"Veronica Guerin" doesn't paint its subject as a saintly heroine, but as a the inexperienced investigative reporter she was, driven more by dogged fearlessness than journalistic savvy (she'd been a writer of human interest features and church scandal stories). The always sublime Blanchett ("Elizabeth," "Heaven") captures her character's beloved motherhood, her matter-of-fact compassion for the slum-dwelling young victims of Mercedes-driving heroine pushers, and her a gift for cutting to the bone with bold stories that do everything but name names (which she couldn't do under the nation's strict libel laws).
Continue reading: Veronica Guerin Review
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In 1996, high-profile anti-drug crusading Irish journalist Veronica Guerin was violently gunned down in broad...