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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 2.40:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer ( )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Russian: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Czech: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Polish: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Hungarian: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Portuguese: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Commentary - English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Commentary - English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  Subtitles
    English, Czech, Polish, Hungarian, Russian, Portuguese, English - Hearing Impaired
  Extras
  • 1 Deleted scenes
  • 2 Audio commentary
  • 2 Featurette
  • Photo gallery
  • Interviews

Veronica Guerin (Rental)

Buena Vista/Buena Vista . R4 . COLOR . 94 mins . MA15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Veronica Guerin, folk hero of Ireland, has her story of bringing down the Irish criminal underworld told here in a mildly Hollywoodised fashion. Writing for an Irish newspaper, and having connections in the Irish criminal underworld that had already brought her recognition by the average person in the street, she took her investigative powers further to uncover some horrifying truths.

After investigating the drug problem in the ghettos, she makes a connection to an underworld figure and, using her sources, she follows it using everything she can to get to the dark heart of the drug cartel in Ireland. What she finds there is pure corruption and it doesnít like being disturbed or exposed in the leastÖ

"Things can always get worse, VeronicaÖ"

Cate Blanchett goes further to prove she can do anything and play anyone in this film, portraying the slightly vain and smug confidence of Guerin after attaining some measure of notoriety around Ireland. Blanchett manages to convey that confidence momentarily destroyed by instances in which Guerin comes face to face with the powers of darkness, and the swift climb back to her usual plateau of self-worth afterward. Itís a difficult role in that thereís plenty of story going on, yet there donít seem to be so many levels of Guerin exposed in this story. There are those notable instances in which everything crumbles away, but we donít get enough of a chance to see whatís underneath before the journalistís veneer is replaced, protecting the character from everything else. Unfortunately, that tends to include us, the audience, which isnít helpful to understanding the character.

No doubt the Irish will be more familiar with Guerinís story and perhaps this played well to audiences there, though I feel the film lacks a solid and flowing narrative and this hampers the storyline as Guerinís character is bandied back and forth between her private life and her work. Not to say the film is bad, because it isnít, it may just find some audiences struggling to stay interested in a story that moves forward in leaps and starts rather than an increasingly building tension.

However, Blanchett makes it worthwhile, with her flawless Irish accent and understated performances as a woman determined to clean up the streets any way she knows how and what that determination eventually ended up costing her. Guerinís story is a good one, though being so based in reality, it doesnít exactly contain the flowing style we have become so used to as an audience. And thatís a shame, because Guerinís story is well worth visiting and her courage applaudable. The story has also been shaved and trimmed neatly enough that parts just donít resemble reality anymore, so we become caught in a netherworld between reality and fiction that again doesnít help the importance of the story.

Well worth checking out as a rental though.

  Video
Contract

A practically flawless delivery here from Buena Vista, delivered in the monster cinema aspect of 2.40:1 with anamorphic enhancement. The image is razor sharp throughout with crisp lines and sharp, even colour. Flesh tones are Irish pallid and the majority of the film is under bleak, overcast skies lending the film a grey feeling that works perfectly for the content. Shadow detail is surprisingly good and blacks are mostly true, but for occasional instances indoors in which they appear a deeper green. Otherwise, an exceptional picture given the overall grey tones of the film.

  Audio
Contract

A Dolby Digital 5.1 surround mix brings us the noise here and this is fine, although the surround aspects are pretty limited given this is mostly a talkie. However, the subwoofer supports the hidden menace of the atmosphere well enough with the surrounds carrying some of the great music around us.

Dialogue is all fairly clear, though there are some trickier moments with thick Irish accents. Sound effects are well-alanced to the rest of the soundscape while the musical score by Harry Gregson-Williams is tense, suspenseful and dramatic while still incorporating traditional Irish themes and inspirations. A nice melodic score for the most part, with just those noted moments of tension being built well by the music.

  Extras
Contract

Quite a bundle here, with our first being Public Mask, Private Fear, a 13:01 unorthodox making-of featurette that interviews the major cast and crew (Blanchett, director Joel Schumacher, producer Jerry Bruckheimer) and some of the real-life characters in the story. Very interesting and better than average as far as making-ofís go.

A Conversation with Producer Jerry Bruckheimer is more like a one-sided interview running for 20:36 and featuring Bruckheimer answering text screen questions. This seems made for the DVD and features some film footage throughout.

Two audio commentaries are next with the first of these being with Joel Schumacher himself. He speaks casually, as he usually does, and plaintively, about facts and inspirations of the film. He leaves speaking about the making of the film and techniques and such until nearly the end and does make for an interesting Ďone-man-bandí, as I call this sort of lone commentator commentary.

The second AC is with the writers Mary Agnes Donoghue and Carol Doyle, who speak about their experiences in making the film, their research and their travels and the Irish inspirations for the story. Itís a busy discussion and they bring a professionalism to the AC that makes it worth a listen, though there isnít any real film making education here.

One deleted scene is included in 2:40:1 without enhancement that runs for 2:25. Itís Cate as Guerin speaking at the Committee to Protect Journalists at an awards night before this is then repeated in the actual footage of Guerin speaking that night. This bit runs for 3:40 and itís very interesting to compare the two and see how theyíve tidied up Guerinís original Ďwritten-on-the-spotí speech. Youíll also notice some of the ĎHollywoodisationí Iíve referred to earlier.

Finally, Bruckheimerís not uncommon photo diary of the shoot. These are his own behind the scenes personal shots and his commentary is warm and fairly interesting listening. The whole thing runs for 6:50 and is played full screen (4:3), which is the way all photo galleries should be presented. A nice way to see out the extras.

  Overall  
Contract

Veronica Guerin is an important film about what one single woman can do (and did) against the drug problem. It shows that one person can most definitely make a difference, although the cost to Guerin isnít really something most people would be willing to risk.

However, itís a great story and worth checking out, though there are a few slower moments that donít help the narrative flow. The injection of some fictional characters and meldings of others may also contribute to the slightly unrealistic appearance of the story and this does detract from the final message of the film. Thereís also a cameo appearance by Colin Farrell that doesnít seem entirely necessary in a film of such a serious nature. Still, worth renting.


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=4208
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      And I quote...
    "Veronica Guerinís story is slightly desensitised and Hollywoodised here, which unfortunately detracts from the overall importance of the message. Still, Cate Blanchett is incredible."
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Teac DVD-990
    • TV:
          AKAI CT-T29S32S 68cm
    • Speakers:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Centre Speaker:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Surrounds:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Subwoofer:
          Akai
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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