When the Sky Falls

on September 13, 2000 by Shlomo Schwartzberg
   Based on the life of Veronica Guerin, a crusading Irish reporter who was murdered for her efforts, "When The Sky Falls" is a conventional, brutally effective Irish drama. In the '90s, Ireland had unique problems when it came to fighting drug-related crime. A quarter of the police were manning the border to keep terrorists out, the laws overly favored criminals, and it was the IRA that was more likely to put the pushers out of business, as drug addicts couldn't be effectively recruited for the cause.

   Joan Allen portrays the fictionalized Guerin (here named Sinead Hamilton), the reporter who wants to get the bad guys. Patrick Bergin is Mackey, the cop who bends the rules to do the same. The problem is that Mackey is the more interesting, and flawed, character. Allen, as in "The Contender," is just playing a dull type: the determined journalist. Despite its apocalyptic title, the overall impact of "When The Sky Falls" is minimal.    Starring Joan Allen, Patrick Bergin and Liam Cunningham. Directed by John MacKenzie. Written by Michael Sheridan, Ronan Gallagher and Colum McCann. Produced by Nigel Warren-Green and Michael Wearing. No distributor set. Drama. Not yet rated. Running time: 105 min.

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