The film relies on terse dialogue and boggy colors to create an atmosphere dense with anxiety -- all well handled by director James March.
Walter V. Addiego, San Francisco Chronicle, 2013-07-22
A tautly minimalist, occasionally generic study of betrayal and family ties.
Ty Burr, Boston Globe, 2013-06-14
[Riseborough's] work is indrawn and riveting. It's hard to read the look in her eye, but we never stop trying.
Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer, 2013-06-13
These are characters for whom true belief in a cause has probably become impossible; they know how much that costs. Marsh does a compelling job of illustrating that for the rest of us.
Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic, 2013-06-13
Riseborough's ever-mobile face is a study as Collette cycles from hopelessness to panic to mama-bear rage.
Dana Stevens, Slate, 2013-05-31
The proceedings move so quietly and thoughtfully as to be occasionally somnolent, though they're punctuated with spasms of the violence that marked the Troubles.
Sara Stewart, New York Post, 2013-05-31
Shadow Dancer feels like a thriller, but Marsh is wisely more interested in the tension than in the release. What thrills exist here are carefully tempered by the considered pacing.
Ian Buckwalter, NPR, 2013-05-30
"Shadow Dancer" is ominously subdued and grimly taciturn. The dialogue is minimal. Only what has to be said is said, and the tone of most of it is one of quiet urgency.
Stephen Holden, New York Times, 2013-05-30
Director James Marsh, best known for his documentaries Man On Wire and Project Nim, crafts an atmosphere of tenuous dread.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, AV Club, 2013-05-30
The film rests on the desperate chemistry of a paunchy, weathered Owen and a tense, quietly ferocious Riseborough.
Nick Schager, Village Voice, 2013-05-28
While it's hard to grumble about such a smart, intelligent drama after a summer of big bangs, its slow pace at times feels sluggish.
Cath Clarke, Time Out, 2012-08-21
James Marsh's gripping thriller set in Northern Ireland demands patience and concentration of its audience, but the impeccably crafted film is well worth the effort.
David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter, 2012-02-10
Riseborough gives a tremendously vulnerable and resolute turn as a protector at home and avenger abroad forced to reconsider the extent to which she is capable of avoiding the crossfire on all sides.
William Goss, Film.com, 2012-01-27
A respectable political/psychological suspenser, but not a wildly entertaining or enjoyable one.
Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 2013-06-27
This British thriller by James Marsh is a little too neatly scripted and tightly edited for my taste, but there are galvanizing performances from Andrea Riseborough... and Clive Owen.
J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader, 2013-06-13
The movie runs into the same problem all stories like this do: Generally, audiences don't like snitches.
Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger, 2013-05-31
The character mechanics ... leave the viewer always feeling a step ahead of the story and its too-late-to-excite twists.
Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times, 2013-05-30
Riseborough once again transforms herself dramatically, expanding her role as best she can. But neither the hesitant script - adapted by Tom Bradby from his own novel - nor the sluggish tempo give her enough support.
Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News, 2013-05-30
The movie eventually wafts into a detective story, which would be doubly effective if only we could hack our way through the thickly coated Irish brogues that render so much of the dialogue incomprehensible.
Rex Reed, New York Observer, 2013-05-29
There's slow-burning, and then there's simply slow; the difference between the two has never been so apparent.
David Fear, Time Out New York, 2013-05-28