Why would anyone want to kill Veronica Guerin?

Directed by Joel Schumacher - 2003 - USA, Ireland, UK – 98 min

Veronica Guerin

2021 December 01 | by Arduino Mancini Conflict - Cryme and Thriller - Money and Finance - Politics - Women's Stories

Veronica Guerin is an eclectic Irish woman who, after studying accounting, works first in her father’s company, then founds a public relations firm; finally, after 7 years, she returns to work as a secretary in a different business.

The film’s protagonist is also involved politically, and in 1987 she becomes election agent and party treasurer in the North Dublin Parliamentary Constituency.

The turning point in her life occurs in 1990, when at the age of 32 she begins to work as a journalist for the Sunday Independent, a small daily newspaper focused on Dublin news.

Soon Veronica realizes the widespread use of drugs of all kinds and, maybe even as a wife and mother, decides to start an investigation to expose the situation through its articles and facilitate the justice course.

The journalist interviews very young consumers, coming in touch with drug dealers and getting deeper and deeper into the world of organized crime.

She soon realizes that bringing the drug trade to light is not easy, since the narco-business enjoys very high levels of protection; it is enough to say that at the time of the events in Ireland, goods purchased with money from criminal activities cannot be seized by the State.

At this point I should stop, without revealing more of the plot; but this time I intend to make an exception and tell you the general outlines of the story because I’m sure this will convince you to watch the film.

The action of the journalist shakes the organization to the foundations, which threatens her life and that of her family, to the point of carrying out reprisals.

On June 26, 1996, she is driving her Opel Calibra on the outskirts of Dublin when, stopped at a traffic light, she is flanked by a motorcycle with two killers who shoot her six times: the murder is committed by men from the gang of drug dealers led by John Gilligan, the criminal with whom the journalist had engaged in a real battle.

The death of Veronica Guerin triggers an emotional reaction that the criminal organizations had not foreseen; under the pressure of public opinion, after only a week the Constitution is changed, and a new law is introduced allowing the State to confiscate property purchased with money from illegal activities.

In addition, it is established the Criminal Assets Bureau, a body dedicated to the fight against organized crime.

It will be the Bureau that will be crucial in bringing the murderers of the journalist to justice: the investigation will lead to over 150 arrests and seizures of weapons as well as drugs, with a 15% drop in the crime rate in just one year.

Now watch the trailer, then I’ll tell you what I think are the aspects to pay attention to.



How to watch the film

Courage is the dominant theme of the film: the courage of a woman who does not hesitate to put her own life at risk, and ultimately that of her family, to achieve the goal of cleaning up the city from drugs.

Courage is made vivid by the (as usual) superlative performance of Cate Blanchett, who even lived a few months in Veronica mother’s house to get into character.

You can find in the film some characteristic traits of criminal organizations:

  • the difficulty in thinking that situations can change;
  • the tendency to obey the most immediate needs;
  • the resistance to questioning the consequences of their actions;
  • the difficulty in evaluating situations from a different point of view.

In conclusion, Veronica astonishes with her stubborn determination, her almost total lack of caution, that she systematically challenges her opponents.

A persistent desire to break down obstacles, by whatever means, here and now, that makes me wonder: if she had been more cautious, if she had had a little patience, if she had made more attempts to forge alliances, would she have been able to achieve the same result by saving her life?

I don’t know, probably not!

But I want to close this review with a quote from Bertold Brecht who, in The Life of Galileo, makes the scientist say “Unhappy the land that is in need of heroes”.

A must-see movie!


Cate Blanchett, Gerard McSorley, Ciarán Hinds, Brenda Fricker, Don Wycherley, Barry Burns.

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