Shadow Dancer

Watch Shadow Dancer

  • R
  • 2013
  • 1 hr 41 min
  • 6.2  (12,991)
  • 71

Shadow Dancer is a gripping thriller set in early 1990s Belfast during The Troubles, the period of intense political violence between Catholic and Protestant factions. The movie opens with a scene showing a young girl, Collette McVeigh, and her younger brother being taken to their grandmother's house by their father. The family is stopped at a British Army checkpoint, and Collette's brother is killed in the confusion. This event sets the tone for the rest of the film, which is primarily focused on Collette's struggle to survive and protect her family in a world of violence and betrayal.

Collette, played by Andrea Riseborough, becomes involved with the IRA, but after being caught attempting to plant a bomb in London, she is given a choice by MI5 agent Mac (Clive Owen): go to prison for 25 years or spy on her own family for the British government. She chooses to become a "shadow dancer," someone who infiltrates the IRA and provides information to MI5.

Over the course of the movie, Collette is torn between her loyalty to her family and the IRA, and her duty to MI5. Her handler, Mac, is hardened and cynical, but Collette gradually becomes more reliant on him as she becomes more deeply involved with the IRA.

Gillian Anderson plays Kate Fletcher, Mac's boss, who becomes increasingly involved in Collette's case as tensions between the IRA and the British government escalate. As the peace process in Northern Ireland begins to take shape, the stakes for Collette become even higher, and she must make a series of difficult choices that will determine the fate of her family and her future.

The film is shot in a moody, dark aesthetic, with many scenes taking place at night or in shadowy interiors. The contrast between the quiet, tense moments of Collette's life as a mother and daughter and the violent outbursts of IRA activity is stark, and the movie does an excellent job of portraying the precariousness of life in Northern Ireland during this period.

The performances are uniformly strong, with Andrea Riseborough delivering a nuanced and highly believable portrayal of a woman caught between two worlds. Clive Owen is equally compelling as Mac, whose motives and methods are often ambiguous. Gillian Anderson provides a calming presence as Kate Fletcher, but her character is not without flaws, and there are moments when her resolve is tested.

Director James Marsh (Man on Wire) maintains a steady hand throughout the film and keeps the tension high. The plot moves at a deliberate pace, allowing for the characters to fully develop before the final act, which ramps up the suspense and delivers a satisfying conclusion.

Overall, Shadow Dancer is a thoughtful film that explores themes of loyalty, betrayal, and the cost of violence. It provides an illuminating look at a difficult period in Northern Irish history, and the ways in which conflicting loyalties can tear families and communities apart. Highly recommended for fans of political thrillers and anyone interested in the history of The Troubles.

Shadow Dancer is a 2013 thriller with a runtime of 1 hour and 41 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.2 and a MetaScore of 71.

Shadow Dancer
Where to Watch Shadow Dancer
Shadow Dancer is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Hulu, Amazon Prime, FuboTV, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Shadow Dancer for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 41 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.2  (12,991)
  • Metascore