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Shadow Dancer

Premiering April 30 on Rogers On Demand (Channel 100) and

Oscar-winning documentarian James Marsh (Man on Wire, Project Nim) switches gears for a taut thriller set amid “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland in the early 1990s.

Andrea Riseborough gives an emotionally charged performance as a single mom-turned-IRA bomber who is forced to become a mole for Britain’s Secret Service. Clive Owen, as her spy master, is her harried-yet-in-control opposite, at least until he begins to suspect that his own boss’ (Gillian Anderson) motives for the mission might not be so black and white.

The subject matter could easily have veered into 007 territory if not for Marsh’s deft hand at focusing on the grim drama of lies and spies, instead of the potential for spectacle. Shadow Dancer is rich and contemplative (no, that doesn’t mean boring), particularly as the betrayals and tensions mount, and the occasional pyrotechnics function purely as punctuation. Indeed, the film would make a great double feature with the recent Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

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