This is the sort of movie that would be dismissed as being implausible if it was pure fiction, but this tale of modern heroism is only slightly fictionalised. Joan Allen plays a thinly disguised version of Veronica Guerin (pron: GEER-in), an Irish journalist killed by the drug barons she fearlessly challenged.
In some ways the film's greatest asset is it's honesty: it's as uninhibited about tackling the issues involved as Guerin herself was: it doesn't pull any punches in criticising the irish government and police force's timid efforts to deal with the heroin epidemic in Dublin. It doesn't flinch from the fact that Guerin used some wildly unorthodox methods to tackle the drug barons. Also, like John Boorman's far more stylish _The General_, it shows that the Irish police aren't above colluding with terrorists in the drugs war.
In other ways, the film presents often gratingly hackneyed images and some wildly implausible scenes. The Drug baron's hoods are clearly based on the bad guys in Donald Duck cartoons, drinking champagne in Jacuzzis, while the newspaper office is apparenly modelled on _His Girl Friday_. Also, kids are seen shooting up Smack in Dublin streets IN BROAD DAYLIGHT, and no character bats an eyelid. The problem of using sexy Hollywood actresses to repressent real people rears it's finely embrocated head, particularly when Joan Allen is sexually approaced by several hoodlums. The movie also makes the world of Irish journalism and law enforcement seem more misogynistic than they really are.
These are minor quibbles, though. This, for all its flaws and low budget is a truly inspiring film, a film that shows that heroism is still possible and a welcome antidote to the "ironic" designer nihilism of much contemporary US and British crime cinema.
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