Ascending British actress Andrea Riseborough's face is an exquisite road map of pain, fear and resolve in "Shadow Dancer," a thriller that explores questions of loyalty against a backdrop of Northern Ireland politics in the early '90s.
Riseborough plays Belfast-born young mother Collette, a tragedy-stricken daughter of the Troubles. After she's caught trying to blow up a London subway, an MI5 officer (Clive Owen) taps her to spy on her IRA brothers. Riseborough captures this queasy situation with grimly haunting grace. It's too bad the film around her — adapted by Tom Bradby from his novel — hews to a fairly conventional template for informant-story tension, especially after wowing us early with the nervy scene in which Collette wanders ghostlike through the motions of planting the bomb.
Director James Marsh, known more for his documentary work ("
"Shadow Dancer." Rated R for language and some violent content. Running time: 1 hour, 44 minutes. Playing at the Laemmle Monica 4-Plex.