(director/writer: Charles and Thomas Guard; screenwriter: Ronan Bennett; cinematographer: Mattias Rudh; editor: Ted Guard; music:Max de Wardener; cast: Colin Morgan (Michael O’Hara), Ami Ameen (Henry Tempest), Mark Strong (Holland), Felicity Jones (Catherine), Sophia Brown (Ruth), Tom Vaughn-Lawlor (Keenan), Mairead Tyers (Carol), Steve Wall (Quinn); Runtime: 92; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Rebecca L. Brown, Chris Coen, Brian Coffey, Thorsten Schumacher; Amor Media; 2023-UK)
“It will hold your attention to see how things are resolved.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Dead Shot is a taut Brit revenge thriller set in 1975 London. An ex-IRA terrorist Michael O’Hara (Colin Morgan) tracks down the Brit SAS Black soldier Tempest (Ami Ameen), who mistakenly killed his pregnant wife (Mairead Tyers) during an ambush. Whereas O’Hara escapes and resigns from his position in the paramilitary, the manipulative leader of his IRA branch, a school principal named Keenan (Tom Vaughn-Lawlor), arranges for the IRA to fake his death so he can run an Active Service Unit of the Republican Army in London. The aim of the unit is to cause fear and chaos in the city. Meanwhile Tempest is recruited by the odious head of a Met police special anti-terrorist squad, Holland (Mark Strong), to be in London to track down IRA members and execute them. He takes the assignment to avoid his possible government prosecution for killing an unarmed woman.
Through the photographer Catherine (Felicity Jones), an informer for the IRA, O’Hara learns Tempest is stationed in London and schemes to get him. Tempest’s innocent girlfriend Ruth (Sophia Brown) gets caught in the middle of this conflict. Meanwhile Tempest faces racial bigotry from his colleagues.
It’s directed and written by the Brit Brothers, Charles and Thomas Guard (“The Uninvited”/”Round About Five”).
It’s neither a great or a bad film, but falls in the middle as a harrowing terrorist drama set in the peak time of the Troubles when bombings and violence were rampant.
It seems authentic and is artfully made, but makes for a grim watch. It stays out of the conflict’s politics to focus on how deadly and meaningless was all the violence. What stands out are the excellent performances by the unsympathetic leads. It will hold your attention to see how things are resolved.
REVIEWED ON 7/31/2023 GRADE: B