Very few movies sum up the lead character in the opening scene. Veronica Guerin (Cate Blanchett), a reporter for Dublin's Sunday Independent, is appearing before a judge for a speeding charge on June 26, 1996. "We all know who you are, Miss Guerin, but that doesn't grant you immunity," he says to her. She doesn't take any of this very seriously and is quite pleased when the judge only gives her a slap on the wrist. She seems to think she is entitled to do whatever she likes in her fast and flashy car.
A flashback takes us two years earlier. Guerin is a high-strung reporter hungry for a story that will give her a chance to show her stuff. The crime beat is offering nothing out of the ordinary until she stumbles upon an overlooked dimension of life in Dublin the widespread use of drugs among youth in housing projects. With the zeal of a crusader, Guerin leaps into a project of bringing the drug dealers down. To do so, she is forced to rely upon John Traynor (Claran Hinds), an informer she's used in the past. This slick operator works for John Gilligan (Gerard McSorley), a mobster who is making so much money that he's even become part of the rich set with a stable full of horses. Gilligan gives Guerin a false lead and she bites, getting in trouble with Martin Cahill (Gerry O'Brien), another mobster.
Joel Schumacher directs this biodrama scripted by two Irish Americans, Carol Doyle and Mary Agnes Donoghue. What gives this drama its moral clout is the fact that Guerin wants to achieve fame and glory while riding on the backs of the poor addicted slum kids of Dublin. When she is shot in the leg by an assassin, she doubles her resolve to expose the drug lords even though her mother (Brenda Fricker) and her supportive husband (Barry Barnes) think she should back off. After Guerin finally finds the man she's after, she tries to play the Lone Ranger with him and the results are not pretty.
The ethical import of Veronica Guerin is worth pondering. Here is a person who does the right thing for the wrong reason. She devotes all of her energy to the quest for fame and has little time left for her family. She comes across in public as pushy and aggressive. Her colleagues all find her to be intolerable. Yet, in the end, she does a good thing that has a positive effect on Dublin, its youth, and the Irish criminal justice system.
The DVD includes a conversation with producer Jerry Bruckheimer and his photo diary, an audio commentary with director Joel Schumacher and writers Carol Doyle and Mary Agenes Donoghue, and a making-of featurette. It also showcases footage of the real Veronica Guerin speaking at the Committee to Protect Journalists, which can be compared to a deleted scene of Cate Blanchett as Guerin giving the same speech.