Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Movie Review: The Guard (2011)

The Guard (2011)
Director - John Michael McDonagh
96 Min; R
Sergeant Gerry Boyle - Brendan Gleeson
FBI agent Wendell Everett - Don Cheadle
Cornell - Mark Strong

Seeing a movie with Brendan Gleeson is an awesome experience.  His presence alone makes a film better.  It doesn't necessarily make the film a good film just because he is there, but it helps.  If you like to watch the way certain actors do their job, this is one hell of a guy to watch.  You really see him manipulate his mannerisms and speech to fit the moment perfectly and that is something not many actors do nearly as well. 

In this film Gleeson (Sergeant Gerry Boyle) is a local policeman in a small, Irish town who finds himself investigating a few murders and an imminent cocaine deal worth 500 million dollars.  He doesn't care at all about the drug deal, but an FBI agent (Don Cheadle) arrives to make sure the local force cooperates with the investigation. They are looking for 3 men who are supposedly in the area and the masterminds behind the cocaine movement.

That's pretty much all of the plot I need to give you.  Watch the trailer below if you want to see a little more, plus it will help orientate you to the type of film and dialogue that is present throughout.  I'm not sure everyone can enjoy a movie with thick accents and cultural differences, but for those of you who can I think you'll love this film.

The director is the brother of Martin McDonagh, who directed one of my favorite films In Bruges, also with Brendan Gleeson.  I'm not going to try and compare the two as directors or the two movies, but this one is pretty good.  I would almost call this a comedy with noir tendencies, but it isn't quite that and shouldn't be compartmentalized. Gleeson is just awesome as a 'don't give a shit' policeman who drinks, does drugs, hires hookers, and gets the job done.  Cheadle as the FBI agent is nothing special and his role is seemingly there just so that Gleeson can make racial jokes - but some of them are really funny and the chemistry between he two is solid.

Aside from the plot and the acting, the star of the film is the cinematography.  Barren Irish sea-scapes can make for some wonderful shots and the decision to film many scenes in the evening and dead of night leads to some pretty incredible shots.  This isn't the best film of the year but it is damn good.  I laughed out loud quite a bit and also admired the film for taking a chance.  This is not formulaic at all and that is about the best compliment I can give.

**** out of 5

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