Anthony's Film Review

Veronica Guerin (2003)

A good biopic that centers on a dedicated, risk-taking journalist...

Before I talk about the 2003 film Veronica Guerin, let me first comment on its star, Cate Blanchett. She is definitely an actress whom I would consider versatile. If you watch some of her films, you can see that she can fit into any role she is given. This is true even when the role calls for assuming a specific nationality, such as the part of journalist Veronica Guerin for which Blanchett had to speak with an Irish accent. If you like this actress and are interested in seeing another example of her acting abilities, Veronica Guerin is a movie you can check out.

You may also be interested in seeing the film Veronica Guerin if you knew who she was in real life or if you just like biographical films of interesting people. Like many famous figures, Guerin was devoted to her work. As a journalist who switched from writing about religion to documenting the drug trafficking underworld in Dublin, she wanted to go all the way in telling the story. This involved direct contacts with drug dealers, an effort that increasingly jeopardized her safety and concerned her family. Her story, as presented in this film, ultimately ends in both tragedy and triumph.

There is one scene in the beginning of the movie that clearly illustrates what motivated Guerin to write about the drug trade. It shows her wandering in a Dublin slum where hypodermic needles litter the sidewalks and where kids as young as maybe five years old are learning how to inject drugs into their bodies. There are also depictions of other Irish youth who are clearly weakened by long-term drug use. All of this is, naturally, very shocking to see. Given how drugs and crime were rampant problems in Dublin, it's no wonder that Guerin shifted her focus to covering the drug trade.

Throughout the movie, there are scenes of Guerin talking to drug dealers, spending time with her family, and doing work for the newspaper The Sunday Independent. Among the secondary characters, two of them stand out, both of whom are drug dealers. One is a man named John Traynor, who could be helpful but could also be trouble. The other is the top drug lord, a wealthy man named John Gilligan. He is quite interesting because he owns a large ranch and many horses, defying the stereotype that drug kingpins are near the bottom of the social ladder. Plus, he becomes very menacing once Guerin finally catches up to him and confronts him directly.

Most of the film feels like a steady narrative, but it does become more emotionally charged in the last 30 minutes when Guerin really gets into trouble and has to make the most difficult decision of all. The tragic ending, which is not entirely surprising, is followed by scenes that remind us of the reward for all the trouble Guerin went through. Her efforts brought public attention to the threat of drug trafficking, led the Irish government to enact new laws that crack down on drug lords, and brought down crime rates in Dublin. While there may be debate about whether Veronica Guerin was foolhardy, there's no denying that she was a courageous journalist. Anyone who has made a big difference for the world in any way deserves to be honored.

Anthony's Rating:

For more information about Veronica Guerin, visit the Internet Movie Database.


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