British Intelligence agent Clive Owen gives thwarted IRA bomber Andrea Riseborough two choices: jail or inform on your own, which in this case happens to be her family. Director James Marsh’s proven track record as a documentarian (Man on Wire) combines with his uncanny flair for creating gritty period atmospherics (Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1980) to strike a near-perfect chord in this astute thriller. It’s the fourth film to star Riseborough that’s played town this year, and the further she distances herself from Madonna (W/E) the better. The chameleonic presence she brings to each role may help to account for her lack of recognizability from film to film. Marsh’s unhurried pace is deliberate; there’s a method to his slowness that builds to a curtain shot that’ll flatten you quicker than a left hook. Highly recommended. With Aidan Gillen, Domhall Gleeson, and Gillian Anderson. 2012.

4.0 stars

— Scott Marks

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