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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Text Review: The Guard (2011)

The Guard is an Irish black-comedy starring Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle set in the Conemarra Gaeltacht. (Note: A Gaeltacht is a place where Irish is the spoken language of the people). Gleeson is playing a Garda sergeant named Gerry Boyle. The movie opens with a car crash. When Sgt. Boyle arrives on the scene, he searches the bodies and finds some drugs. Deciding "their mammies wouldn't like this" he throws the drugs away, but not before trying some LSD. This is a great opening to the movie, both to the beautiful countryside area that is the Gaelteacht and to our anti-hero Sgt.Boyle. There is a murder in the village with "occult overtones". Don Cheadle plays FBI Agent Wendell Everett, who is holding a meeting about a boat smuggling drugs into Ireland, during which Boyle interrupts him. At the time of release of the movie there was controversy because of racist comments from Boyle. Wendell shows the faces of the 4 druglords, who are all white, when Boyle says that he thought only black lads were drug dealers. That's really it. I knew nothing about the movie before going to see it, only hearing these comments after seeing it. It wasn't said in a discriminatory manner, there was no malice. It was a naive comment from a country bumpkin. Boyle is threatened with suspension but he says they wont suspend him. He then tells them that one of the druglords was the murder victim in the Gaeltacht. The 3 remaining druglords are played by Liam Cunningham, Mark Strong and David Wilmot respectively. Boyle and Wendell are appointed to lead the investigation, which made no sense to me. Boyle proved himself to be an ignorant, corrupt and somewhat stupid country boy, yet he is now leading the investigation into half a billion dollars worth of drugs being smuggled into Ireland. Yes, he knows the area and the locals, but still, you'd think there has to be someone more qualified. The subplot is about Boyle and his interaction with his mother, played by veteran Irish actress Fionnula Flanagan, who has a terminal disease. The chemistry between the two actors is outstanding, and it adds another layer of dimension to Gleeson's character early on in the movie. Gleeson is at his best here. Boyle is an incredibly well written character. Although he does drugs and has a penchant for hookers, he doesn't accept blackmail and he hunts down the druglords. He is the perfect anti-hero. And the key to this, is Gleeson. I think anyone else would've completely fucked it up. Cheadle is pretty good opposite Gleeson. The supporting cast is good as well. The film is very reminiscent of In Bruges, and it should be. It's an Irish black comedy starring Gleeson, it's directed by the brother of In Bruges and it has an ambiguous ending. Speaking of which, the ending is great. Like In Bruges, it's unknown what happened. Unlike In Bruges, we are given the pieces ourselves to the ending through a series of loose ends and seemingly pointless dialogues throughout the movie.
FINAL OPINION: This movie was a first for me, in that I paid to see it in the cinema twice. So from me, it's a must see, and worth a buy when it comes out on dvd.

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