Veronica Guerin Movie John Gilligan

Veronica Guerin is a 2003 biographical crime film directed by Joel Schumacher and starring Cate Blanchett in the title role. The screenplay by Carol Doyle and Mary Agnes Donoghue focuses on Irish journalist Veronica Guerin, whose investigation into the drug trade in Dublin led to her murder in 1996, at the age of 37. The film is the second to be inspired by Guerin’s life. Three years earlier, When the Sky Falls centred on the same story, although the names of the real-life characters were changed.

Veronica Guerin, a crime reporter for the Sunday Independent, becomes aware of how much Dublin’s illegal drug trade is encroaching upon the lives of its working class, especially the children, and vows to expose the men responsible.

Guerin begins by interviewing the pre-pubescent addicts who shoot up on the street or in abandoned buildings in the housing estates. Her investigation leads her to major suppliers and John Traynor, a notable source of information about the criminal underworld. Traynor is willing to assist her to an extent but is not above misleading her in order to protect himself from nefarious drug lord John Gilligan. To steer her away from Gilligan, Traynor suggests Gerry Hutch, a criminal known as The Monk, is in charge of the operation. Guerin pursues Hutch and discovers he is not involved.

As Guerin nears the truth, she and her family become targets. A bullet fired through a window in her home as a warning fails to stop her. She is then shot in the leg, and her young son Cathal is threatened. Her husband Graham, mother Bernie, and brother Jimmy implore her to stop, but when Guerin confronts Gilligan at his home and is savagely beaten, she becomes more determined to expose him. Rather than press charges, which would necessitate her removal from the story, she forges ahead with the investigation.

On 26 June 1996, Guerin appears in court to respond to parking tickets and speeding penalties that she had ignored. She is given a nominal fine of IR£100. En route home she calls her mother and then her husband to report the good news. She is speaking to her office while stopped at traffic light on the Naas Dual Carriageway when two men riding a motorcycle pull up beside her. The driver breaks the window of her car and shoots her six times. The two flee and dispose of the bike and gun in a nearby canal.

Guerin is mourned by her family, friends, associates and the country. Her violent death results in the establishment of the Criminal Assets Bureau, and Gilligan, along with several of his henchmen, are tried and sentenced to lengthy prison terms. The epilogue states that “Veronica Guerin’s writing turned the tide in the drug war. Her murder galvanised Ireland into action. Thousands of people took to the streets in weekly anti-drug marches, which drove the dealers out of Dublin and forced the drug barons underground. Within a week of her death, in an emergency session of the Parliament, the Government altered the Constitution of the Republic of Ireland to allow the High Court to freeze the assets of suspected drug barons.”

Cate Blanchett as Veronica Guerin
Gerard McSorley as John Gilligan
Ciarán Hinds as John Traynor
Brenda Fricker as Bernie Guerin
Barry Barnes as Graham Turley
Simon O’Driscoll as Cathal Turley
Don Wycherley as Chris Mulligan
Alan Devine as Gerry Hutch
Gerry O’Brien as Martin Cahill
Paul Ronan as Jimmy Guerin
Danielle Fox Clarke as the Girl Junkie
Stephen O’Doherty as Young Junkie
Laurence Kinlan as Young Timmy (junky)
The film was shot on location in Dublin and in Naas in County Kildare, with some scenes also being shot near Newtownmountkennedy in County Wicklow.

Colin Farrell makes an appearance as a heavily tattooed young man Guerin briefly engages in conversation about a soccer match.

Critical reception
Veronica Guerin received mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an approval rating of 53% based on reviews from 141 critics. The site’s consensus states: “Cate Blanchett gives another great performance in a movie that doesn’t shed much light on its title character.”

A. O. Scott of The New York Times called the film “a flat-footed, overwrought crusader-against-evil melodrama, in which Ms. Blanchett’s formidable gifts as an actress are reduced to a haircut and an accent. Neither Mr. Schumacher nor Jerry Bruckheimer … is famous for subtlety, and you expect a movie like this to sacrifice a measure of nuance to be appropriately rousing and emphatic. But the filmmakers have succeeded in making Guerin’s fascinating story tedious and formulaic, and in making a real-life drama seem as phony as mediocre television … [T]he storytelling is so clumsy that very little intrigue develops. Nor does much genuine emotion, a defect that Mr. Schumacher tries to overcome with clever editing and loud, swelling music. Veronica Guerin is disappointing in its lazy glibness; it wastes a somber and heroic story that could have made a fine movie.”[3]