Shadow Dancer

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Balancing family life and terrorism can be such a bitch. In Shadow Dancer, the only semi-novel aspect of this microcosm of Ireland’s Troubles is that the central radical is a woman. Otherwise, it’s a rather dull and sometimes confusing telling of the typical good guys versus bad guys story. The film opens with a flashback to 1973 Belfast that tidily explains what drives Collette (the compelling Andrea Riseborough) to commit violence in the name of the IRA. Fast-forwarding 20 years, Collette is now in London, planting a bomb on the Tube. She doesn’t get away with it and is interrogated by MI5 agent Mac (Clive Owen). He wants her to become an informant on her family, saying she'll never see her son again if she doesn’t comply. After Collette returns to her Belfast home, there is a tense moment or two. Mostly, however, the film consists of her looking dour while too many characters are insufficiently introduced, leaving you unclear about what exactly is going on, who’s on which side, and who’s pressuring whom. (TO)