Veronica Guerin (2003): Schumacher’s Dramatic Thriller Starring Cate Blanchett as Real-Life Irish Journalist

Joel Schumacher directed this fast-paced dramatic thriller, starring Cate Blanchett as the real-life assassinated Irish journalist, Veronica Guerin.

Blanchett is well cast as the relentless crime reporter for The Sunday Independent during the early 1990s, but she is defeated by a weak and shallow narrative, which makes the titular character unsympathetic.

Reportedly, Guerin’s violent murder in 1996 had a major impact: It led to a revision of Ireland’s laws and the creation of the Criminal Assets Bureau.

Most of the tale is devoted to Veronica’s pursuit of the underground drug trade in Dublin, which is led by mobster Martin “The General” Cahill (Gerry O’Brien).

When Cahill’s gang is attacked, she suspects mobster Gerry “The Monk” Hutch (Alan Devine) is responsible. Undeterred by threats or gunshot wounds, she uses thug John Traynor (Ciarán Hinds) as an informer to help out her investigation of psychotic mobster John Gilligan (Gerard McSorley).

 Director Schumacher, realizing the shortcomings in the writing (by Mary Agnes Donoghue and Carol Doyle) department, decides to compensate with an approach that favors speed and action over in-depth characterization.  As a result, the lead femme comes across as more obsessive and obnoxious (committed to face-off her rivals in person) than truly heroic and devoted to her métier, investigative journalism, failing to elicit our empathy or attention with her plight.