Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Guard

Directed (and written) by John Michael McDonagh, Reprisal Films 2011. Starring Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle, Mark Stong and Fionnula Flanagan.

Genre: Comedy, Thriller

Question: Is there a certain nationality that you feel a kinship with? Maybe it is an American thing that I have a need to ask that or share with you mine, but I feel a strong connection to my Irish heritage. So when I saw the preview a couple of months ago for the Irish indie film The Guard (and even posted the preview on my blog) I knew I had to see it. It finally came out last week.

I walked into the same theatre where I was SUPPOSED to see Another Earth earlier this week. I will admit I was a little nervous, and if you read my blog recently, you'll know why I felt that way when I arrived there this morning. Anyway, Another Earth was already gone. Darn! But The Guard was another film I was happy to see still in at the same cineplex. I decided not to press my luck and sit in the same seat as last time so I chose a different row. (What? Ok, I might be a little superstitious - maybe that's an Irish thing.) The movie began and I slowly started to relax.

Now I am not sure how I can desribe this movie because it's not like many I have seen before. It states above that it is a comedy and a thriller. Sure, I would say that both genres were there but so subtly written that it is really hard to say that The Guard was a flat-out comedy or an unbelievable thriller. I would say it was more of a black comedy and not "A Raucous Comedy!" as it states on the movie poster behind me. However, the thriller part is something you might not get until the end which is why I really enjoyed this film.

The story is about a small town in Ireland where there is a confrontational and unorthodox Irish policeman (guard) trying to solve a murder. The FBI comes in to help with the situation and up the ante with the murder with a huge drug deal possibly surrounding the murder. You know, somehow they are...connected!

Brendan Gleeson plays the main guard and I bet you know who he is just by the list a few of the films he has been in: 28 Days Later, Braveheart, Cold Mountain, Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire (he is Mad-Eye Moody). Anyway, I have always enjoyed his performances but he is hardly the lead role so this was a nice change. And what a character he played. He's a single man, a cop but likes to ignore the law on a few things, etc.. He even uses the favorite curse word that the Irish seem to enjoy a lot (you know which one, right?....oh for fuck's sake - it should be obvious), but when he talks to his mother or a woman he is sweet, gentle and kind.

Now here's a hint at the thriller part of The Guard - or at least that is how I saw it....he was sarcastic - my favorite - but most of time you don't know if he is being sarcastic or not. I had a smile on my face throughout this entire movie because of his character and even a few soft chuckles. Brendan Gleeson is the main reason I enjoyed this film.

Don Cheadle plays the FBI agent sent over to join the investigation and is taken aback with the guard's crass and racist slurs, but he soon realized that he likes him as they work together to solve the crimes. He puts it perfectly when he calls him an unconventional police officer.  It was an interesting pairing to see the American federal agent and the small town police officer hunt down the drug smugglers - especially at the end of the film.

There are a couple of others things to mention about The Guard. The criminals, or the drug smugglers, were an interesting trio that when together would go off on odd topics like philosophy. I wish I could remember some of the dialogue but I do recall giggling during their scenes especially when Mark Strong's character would communicate. He had some of the best dialogue.

With all that was in The Guard I think the ending might be why I liked it even more. You will just have to see what I am talking about because I am not going to tell you.  Sláinte!

My favorite part: The quick Irish wit - that really does put a smile on my face.

My least favorite part: That I wasn't having a pint of Guinness while watching the film but it was only 10am.

Rating: R
Length: 96 minutes

Review: 8 out of 10

Click on poster to watch instantly:

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