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The assassination of Dublin crime reporter Veronica Guerin in June 1996 shocked Ireland and galvanized the public against the previously untouchable drug traffickers who'd done her in—a finer legacy than this well-meaning but simpleminded biopic. Confusing dread with suspense, screenwriters Carol Doyle and Mary Agnes Donoghue open with Guerin's murder and spend the remainder of the movie marching toward it, with montage and voice-over hastily resolving the rest of the story before the credits roll. Cate Blanchett is magnetic in the title role, but her star power is no substitute for characterization: I can't guess to what degree the gutsy journalist was motivated by conscience, professional ambition, personal animus, or plain adrenaline. Joel Schumacher directed; with Brenda Fricker and Ciaran Hinds, excellent as Guerin's conflicted informant. R, 98 min.

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