Reporter Veronica Guerin made a difference. After a series of probing investigative articles for her Dublin Sunday newspaper, she was assassinated in 1996 at the behest of drug barons. Her death prompted changes in Irish legislation allowing the seizure of illegal earnings. It's hardly surprising film-makers have wanted to celebrate this latter-day martyr, and though 1999's low-budget When the Sky Falls
(with Joan Allen as 'Sinead Hamilton') passed with hardly a blip, this Jerry Bruckheimer production, in which Cate Blanchett's preparations were assisted by the Guerin family, is higher profile, obviously targeted at US audiences unfamiliar with the events. With the erratic Schumacher at the helm, you'd be forgiven for fearing the worst, but it (mostly) doesn't happen. Though there are rather more helicopter shots and sweeping camera movements than the material requires, this is a cleanly told, tense account that names names and plays out on authentic locations, as Guerin's supply of information from her underworld contact (Hinds, effectively oleaginous) eventually places her in serious peril from his volatile crime boss (McSorley, forcefully repulsive). Blanchett gets the accent impeccably, and encompasses both the woman's determined heroism and her delight in the picture byline, but neither she nor the screenplay digs any deeper than secular hagiography. The film would undoubtedly have been richer had it broached its subject's apparently foolhardy willingness to put herself and her family in danger, but it's clearly more interested in tragic uplift than flawed humanity, which the finale's bombastic overstatement makes abundantly clear.