Saturday, 25 August 2012


Taking the easy way out is common practice in filmmaking. It's not a necessary practice but, usually, it is an acceptable one. Many thrillers are persistently complacent, sweeping minor details under the rug to better facilitate the plot, or the pacing, or the character development without causing particular bother. But there's so little plot, such a slow pace and so few characters in Shadow Dancer that this such complacency is rather less acceptable, and it is even in these very details that sacrifices are made for the sake of another. Poor Andrea Riseborough is stranded in a script that has her character making life-changing decisions, some of them wholly contradicting her own morals and beliefs, with remarkable ease. There's nothing inherently wrong with this, but so little insight is afforded us into the mind of this (supposedly) complex woman in complex circumstances that these decisions make equally little sense. They're plot machinations, and the characters can either keep up or be damned. At least Riseborough keeps up; the others are all damned. A cast of respected actors shows up for a few scenes apiece, their apparent purpose to generate atmosphere, or to enable another plot deflection, or perhaps just because they needed someone to fill a part. But I'm being too harsh. For all that this generic film fails to make use of its considerable potential, it nevertheless represents a commendable effort from almost all involved towards making something at least serviceable and effective, and both of those, this film is. Dickon Hinchliffe's score is pleasing, Riseborough is very good (she has the kind of dignified charisma Meryl Streep had in the early stages of her career) and DoP Rob Hardy shows promise, at least when it comes to backlighting curtains. The above still features Riseborough's red coat - completely out-acting Clive Owen - it's the perfect attire for a terrorist, wouldn't you say? No-one will notice you in that, right?