When The Sky Falls

  • 1999
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Biography, Crime, Thriller

Steeped in its own righteous indignation, this message picture — based on the life of a crusading Dublin reporter — is more hagiography than biography. Dublin, 1976. Irish newspaper writer Sinead Hamilton (Joan Allen) juggles homemaking and career with the encouragement of her spouse Tom (Kevin McNally). . Tired of penning pieces on women’s issues,...read more

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Reviewed by Robert Pardi
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Steeped in its own righteous indignation, this message picture — based on the life of a crusading Dublin reporter — is more hagiography than biography. Dublin, 1976. Irish newspaper writer Sinead Hamilton (Joan Allen) juggles homemaking and career with the encouragement of her spouse Tom (Kevin McNally). . Tired of penning pieces on women’s issues, Sinead starts to investigate criminal corruption. But her nose for news leads her to a scoop that her editor eventually regards as too controversial, and she makes enemies of veteran crooks like Mickey O’ Fagan (Jimmy Smallhorne) and Dave Hackett (Gerard Flynn). Her primary informant, Martin Shaughnessy (Peter Postlethwaite), is gunned down and Sinead can’t determine whether his tips about an attempted bombing ruffled the feathers of the IRA. But she refuses to kowtow to the lawbreakers, and though Police Chief Mackey (Patrick Bergin) hustles to indict local dealers Sinead grows increasingly impatient about curtailing the drug scourge that’s seeped into middle class neighborhoods. The frustrated Mackey bends the law to force pushers out of business, but makes little headway; Sinead ignores her husband's concern for her safety and pillories Hackett in the press. Even after a masked man breaks into her home and wounds her, Sinead won’t back down, and when she comes into possession of inside information about an armored car robbery, she becomes an even greater threat to the crime kingpins. Mackey that Sinead is a marked woman, but her take-no-prisoners approach has made her a household name in Dublin. It may also prove her undoing. Based on the life of Veronica Guerin, this earnest biographical picture turns a national tragedy into fodder for a simplified thriller. The handsome Irish locales lend a superficial air of authenticity, but the film doesn’t do an effective job of dramatizing the heroine’s crises of conscience.

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  • Released: 1999
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Steeped in its own righteous indignation, this message picture — based on the life of a crusading Dublin reporter — is more hagiography than biography. Dublin, 1976. Irish newspaper writer Sinead Hamilton (Joan Allen) juggles homemaking and caree… (more)

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