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EIFF 2012: Shadow Dancer and Small Creatures

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After losing her younger brother due to political crossfire, Colette McVeigh’s (Andrea Riseborough) life remains steeped in violence and uncertainty when we rejoin her in 1993.

After being arrested for a failed bomb plot on the London Underground, Colette is given a lifeline in Mac (Clive Owen), who offers to protect her son if she cooperates as an informant.With barely a word spoken in the film’s opening and coolly tense sequence, director James Marsh ensures we know what to expect in regards to pace and tone for the remainder of SHADOW DANCER.

Though comfortable in its silence – Colette refuses to speak to Mac without a lawyer – the quiet leaves you restless and unnerved, especially in the absence of Dickon Hinchliffe’s stunning score.Pulling you in with her big eyes and surprisingly well-hidden emotions, Riseborough faces a big challenge over whether to go big or small, with her minimal display a welcome choice.

Aware that death is potentially around every corner and that her son is emotional collateral, she is completely trapped by her brothers’ political involvement in a place where family is paramount – even when her brother Gerry (Aidan Gillen) is showing her son how to ride a bike there is a sense of constant control.Surprisingly, Clive Owen’s presence is rather sporadic, working very much to the film’s advantage by focusing on Colette’s story.

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