Monday, September 05, 2011

The Guard

What do you get if you get a grumpy Irish person with a penchant for swearing, speaking their mind and a general disrespect for authority crossed with a straight-laced by-the-book respectible man from a different country? You get my marriage for one, but you also get the new Brendan Gleeson film "The Guard".

In its simplest terms, The Guard is a typical cop buddy movie with two mismatched partners, but this barely does it justice. It'd be like describing In Bruges (written by the writer of The Guards brother, and a similiar film in many ways) as simply being a film about two hitmen.

Brendon Gleeson plays Gerry Boyle, an unorthodox (to say the least) Garda Sergeant working in the remote hills of the west of Ireland. Forced to team up with FBI Agent Wendell Everett (played by Don Cheadle), the two unlikeliest of partners join forces to take down an international drug smuggling ring.

So far, so Lethal Weapon. But, as with the excellent In Bruges, that's not really what this movie is about at all. It's eminently quotable ("I didn’t know you had gay lads in the IRA.", "To be sure, it was the only way to infiltrate the MI5"), hilarious and utterly charming.

Boyle comes across as a racist and offensive incompetent smart alec with a dying mother and penchant for whores and drugs, but behind this front lies a genius intellect surrounded by ineffectual and/or corrupt idiots. Cheadle plays his role deadly straight as the archetypal fish out of water (Crocodile Connemara, if you will), but is a perfect foil for the diametrically opposed Boyle. It's interesting to note that Gleeson and Cheadle became very good friends during the shooting of the film, and this really shines through their roles - two very different people who become the unlikeliest of friends.

The ever reliable Liam Cunningham fronts the trio of drug smugglers who are given an unusual level of characterisation for this type of film - indeed, they have some of the best lines (no drug pun intended).

Overall, I can't rave about this film enough. From the opening credits it feels like a Western shot by Sergio Leone, but has a very unique vibe thats difficult to describe. And as expected, if you're won over by this review, you'll probably find it next to impossible to find showing at the cinema - what with it not being a toy franchise with lots of explosions. We had to go and see it at the local Warwick Arts Centre and were quite taken aback to hear the audience applaud when the film ended - that hasn't happened for me since a pissed up midnight premiere of From Dusk Till Dawn.

Go watch it. Enjoy.

1 comment:

  1. It looks like you got lucky in seeing it at all- it's not airing within 25 miles of me according to the internet. Guess I'll have to wait for the DVD or totally official download copy to become available :(


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