Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - September, 2013


 "Shadow Dancer" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Jim Clements



An IRA operative, Collette McVeigh (Andrea Riseborough) gets caught by MI5 Officers after planting a bomb on a London train in 1993.  The lead government official, Mac (Clive Owen) explains to Collette that they have her cold on terrorism charges.  He offers her a deal - either she can go to prison for the next 25 years or so, or she can choose to become a government informant.  She decides to become an informant even though this means she will be spying on her own family, principally her two brothers.  Pretty soon, she starts to fall under suspicion with the IRA while Mac's ex wife and supervisor, Kate Fletcher (Gillian Anderson) starts making moves that puts both Mac and Collette in danger.


  • Magnolia Home Entertainment
  • 2012, Color, Rated R, 1 Hr 42 mins
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: AVC
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master
  • Starring: Andrea Riseborough, Clive Owen and Gillian Anderson 
  • Directed by: James Marsh
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: No
  • Language: Yes


Shadow Dancer had a limited run in US theaters as the film was of much greater interest in the UK and Ireland.  I think this is a shame because this movie is well directed with solid performances in the key parts.  This begins with Andrea Riseborough who lays down a subdued but engaging performance.  In many scenes, she speaks volumes without saying a word.  Clive Owen likewise fills his role handily as the MI5 agent with good intentions who is more than just a little out of step with the angency's leadership.  I am deducting a few stars because this movie moved along at a slow pace.  Don't get the wrong idea, I was engaged and ready for each twist and turn, it's just that the whole movie was cast with a very slow and almost depressing tone throughout.  My final recommendation is that it is a good rental opportunity. 


The flat, soft and almost washed-out image on this movie was a directorial decision and the Blu-ray faithfully passes this image quality.  For example, the colors are muted and the flat image quality subdues finer details as desired by the production crew.  I don't think you need to make a film look this bleak in order to set the right mood for a movie.  So I am giving a relatively low score for video despite that the Blu-ray may be technically precise and true to the source.  

The audio, presented in DTS-HD Mater 5.1, is much better than the Video.  Voice intelligibility is adequate, but I did have some difficulty following the dialog spoken by those with strong Irish accents at first.  This wasn't a shortcoming of the disc, I just needed to pay closer attention to their lines.  There are some gunfire and explosions, a healthy amount of surround ambiance and a well written musical score all of which are well represented by the Blu-ray disc.


This one-disc package has a smattering of Special Features.  The first feature is a short documentary called "Behind the Scenes of 'Shadow Dancer'" (8:28).  Next is "Cast and Crew Interviews" (27:28) which has full-length interviews of seven cast and crew members.  Last, there is AXS TV: A Look at "Shadow Dancer" which is a three minute behind the scenes featurette.