Director James Marsh is probably best known at the Edinburgh International Film Festival for last years moving documentary ‘Project Nim’, and more generally for his mesmerising documentary ‘Man on a Wire’. What we have here is something quite different. Andrea Riseborough is outstanding in the role of Colette McVeigh, active IRA member, recruited by MI5 man Mac (Clive Owen, solid but no stretch) as an informant.
Tense, slow burning plot sucks us in, and it soon becomes edge of the seat stuff. Supporting roles are excellently played, with a business-like Gillian Anderson popping up as Mac’s boss. You’ll also find some wonderful cinematography, especially in the lingering shots in the opening scenes.
It’s a shame the Mac’s role couldn’t have been explored a little more, and the film ‘feels’ like it perhaps would’ve made a better mini-series, giving Marsh room to explore some of the more complex politics and the relationships between Colette’s family members. The story itself doesn’t have hold many surprises – or rather, we’ve seen much of this before. But it doesn’t matter here, because the tight direction and great performances all around (especially Riseborough), this thriller works well. Catch it at a screen if you can.