starring Cate Blanchett, Gerard McSorley, Ciarán Hinds, Brenda Fricker
screenplay by Carol Doyle and Mary Agnes Donoghue
directed by Joel Schumacher
by Walter Chaw By the end of the piece, the only thing missing is John Wayne in ill-fitting Centurion garb drawling "I do believe she truly was the son of God" over the corpse of slain journalist Veronica Guerin (Cate Blanchett), so at pains is Joel Schumacher's tedious spectacle of a hagiography of Guerin to paint her as some sort of sainted martyr. Veronica Guerin is horrible, really, a passel of forced dramatic slow push-ins framing Blanchett's mannered performance (in a Princess Diana haircut, no less, to really ramp up that pathos) all of insouciantly arched eyebrows and saucy eyeballs and centered dead and soft-lit like a Giotto effigy. Much is made of Guerin's print peers looking down on her, then a closing title card offers a statistic on the number of journalists killed in the line of duty, the suggestion being that journalists are sniffy elitists who don't like someone who can't write, has no background or experience in journalism, and takes unnecessary risks with themselves and their families--and that journalists are heroes regularly martyred by their thirst for truth. You really can't have it both ways, and that lack of focus isn't ambiguity so much as confusion brought about by a mortal dose of self-righteousness.