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“The Guard” – Review (POSITIVE)

August 19, 2011

I love it when the Irish curse, especially when they scream, ‘fuck’ or ‘fuckin’. It’s quite amusing. Brendan Gleeson has this way of saying it, that’s almost like music to my ears. As in 2008’s “In Bruges”, Gleeson plays another snarky Irishman caught up in the middle of some twisted occurences. In the “The Guard” he so brillantly plays a Guard with a bad attitude. Doing some risky drugs here & there, and having a hot tempered manner with anyone that comes near him makes his character memorable. Only Gleeson could play such a mean spirited character and make him loveable. John Michael McDonagh has made his directoral debut with this dark crime comedy, he seems to succeed like many others in the genre. His style can be compared to his director brother, Martin McDonagh (“In Bruges”), seems like he picked up on a few things from his bro.

The movie is a classic comedic fish-out-of-water tale of murder, blackmail, drug trafficking and police corruption. Two policemen, one, an unorthodox Irish policeman and the other, a straitlaced FBI agent, must join forces to take on an international drug- smuggling gang. Sergeant Gerry Boyle (Brendan Gleason) is an eccentric small-town cop with a confrontational and crass personality and a subversive sense of humor. A longtime policeman in County Galway, Boyle is a maverick with his own moral code, “What would your mother say?” He has seen enough of the world to know there isn’t much to it and has had plenty of time to think about it. When a fellow officer disappears (Rory Keenan) and Boyle’s small town becomes key to a large drug trafficking investigation of cocaine worth up to a half a billion dollars, he is forced to work with a humorless FBI agent, Wendell Everett (Don Cheadle) assigned to the case, and as the pairing begins it can only be more seditious from there.

The plot of the film may be a tad familiar to some, but that’s not what makes the movie good. You’ve got a bunch of talented actors who are good at what they do, and each have their great moments of memorability. I’ve already yucked it up about Gleeson, he’s awesome plain & simple, and you won’t have a hard time enjoying his character. Don Cheadle (who’s also producer) is a terrific addition to this Irish/British infused cast. He is the fish-out-of-water, and some how fits in so well. But, the characters I really enjoyed the most were the three drug smugglers; Mark Strong, Liam Cunningham, & David Wilmot. The three of these guys are terrific bad guys, but it’s Strong who’s the more amusing of the bunch, playing a pissed off Brit who cannot stand being around a bunch of incompetent Irishmen.

McDonagh has crafted a…well, crafy little comedy thriller, the look of the film is as colorful as it’s characters, with some of the best cinematography I’ve seen this year, thanks to the films Director of Photography, Larry Smith. While the plot maybe the only thing holding the film back from getting a perfect rating that shouldn’t hold it back from being a top notch dark comedy that will no doubt become a cult classic and finding an audience in that status. SEE THIS MOVIE IF YOU CAN!

GRADE: A-

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