Sunday, 4 November 2012

The Guard

I imagine for most people that this is a Marmite film - you'll either love it or hate it. It's a comedy and part of its humour comes from the fact that movie is a pastiche of every kind of small-town cop goes big-time drug gang buster you can imagine. The humour is driven by Brendan Gleeson playing Irish Garda (Police) Sergeant Gerry Boyle who is first class. His character is in so many ways very stereotypical - in an Irish sense, in a police officer sense and in a small town yokel sense.

It is the warmth of Gleeson's character that is the draw. The straight guy is Don Cheadle who plays an FBI drug enforcer and thereby facilitates the playing of the racist card as yet another avenue of stereotyping to be exploited. Add to this prostitutes brought in from Dublin, Eastern Europeans marrying for the visa, a gay man marrying for respectability and police officers on the make and the stereotyping elements of the plot just keep multiplying. It even ends with the characters asking each other if the story had a happy ending!

The film is written by, and a Directorial debut from, John Michael McDonagh who delivers a beautifully shot and lit film. The lanscape is at times bleak and boggy, the coastline dramatic and poetic. The characters have depth if you are prepared to look and work with them and there are plenty of laughs - and profanity! The film offers a saviour-figure whom I found to be at the same time both totally predictable but also continually surprising.

This film offers a good series of laughs and in an almost reverse way is a good promotional film for West rural Ireland. Gleeson is great and at 92 minutes the film is well-paced and not overly long. An enjoyable film that's well worth a look. I'll give it 7.5/10.

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