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I'd write more, like you said I should. If only, there was more to me.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


She finds out the truth and refuses to walk away from it. The moment that changes the columns she pens comes when she sees children in the dark lanes of Dublin play with the remains of syringes used to inject drugs. That sees Veronica Guerin, the high-profile Irish journalist mount a war against Ireland's drug barons.

The movie has its fool-hardy moments, the classic one when Cate Blanchett starring as Guerin utters the line "nobody shoots the messenger. Journalists never get shot." Really?

Her reporting methods appear questionable. At one point, she gets a tip from a source. It's a criminal - John Traynor (CiarĂ¡n Hinds), identifying the perpetrator of a recent murder. Without counter checking the story, she rushes it into print only to realise she was being used as a pawn in deadly game between rival drug gangs, that's followed by a quick sorry "I've come to apologise if I've got it wrong." Her fellow journalists deride her methods, though the way they are shown doing it is entirely forgettable.

But as Jerry Bruckheimer tells us in the DVD extra, the idea was not to make 'a documentary'. So, some parts have been glorified and pretty obviously adapted for the big screen. And who better to do it than Blanchett? She heads to the mean streets, walks the talk with the guys and gals alike and refuses to give up even after she is shot and beaten. She brings out the fear as well as insecurities of a wife and mother after receiving threats targeting her family. She is willing to put her life on the line, compromising the safety of her family is out of the question. One couldn't have asked for an actress more accomplished than Blanchett to evoke the fear that strikes the very core of Guerin's being as she delves deeper into her story.

The treatment of the movie is clever. The end is at the beginning, then the story unravels making it a gripping ride through a seemingly impossible battle against drugs.

(The Real Guerin: 1958-1996)
The tide changes with Guerin's murder which galvanises Ireland. As we are told, "everyone in the Republic of Ireland remembers where they were when Veronica Guerin was murdered."

The war on drugs took on a life of its own after her death. People got on to the streets, legislation was altered, assets of drug barons frozen and many of them were driven out of Ireland. Traynor, who did Guerin in, escaped to Portugal but another key player John Gilligan was extradited and his assets frozen.

Her editor had asked her to write about anything "fashion, football" but Guerin stuck to her guts. As her screen avataar Blanchett tells us "I don't want to do this, I have to do it." That alone makes the cinematic version of Guerin's life to my watchable list.

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