Wednesday, 17 August 2011

The Guard

It’s not often I will go to the cinema to see a comedy.  I am not a particularly miserable person it’s just that I find the vast majority underwhelming or star Jennifer Aniston and I refuse to spend money on a film which has either flaw.

The Guard had been on my radar for a few weeks now and it was at last minute decision to do a sneaky midweek trip to the cinema before its run came to an end

PLOT:  Gerry Boyle (Brendan Gleeson) is a sergeant of a sleepy seaside village in Galway whose quiet existence is interrupted whenever FBI agent Wendell Everett (Don Cheadle) shows up in order to stop a drug shipment being dropped off at the local harbour.  Gerry has a dark sense of racial humour which doesn’t sit well with straight laced Wendell.  Wendell wonders if Gerry is either really smart or really dumb.   Gerry has no interest in motivating himself to help Wendell.  Wendell discovers whether or not Gerry is really smart or really dumb.  END PLOT

On the face of it the plot seems like the traditional cop double act but it isn’t.  The Guard differs from the traditional cop film as every time a conventional “cop line” is uttered it is completely shot down by Gerry who has no time whatsoever for what he deems to be Americanisms.

The plot is slow moving and the investigation doesn’t play a large part in the film with it being reduced to the secondary story.  The main story is simply Gerry and his day to day existence which only occasionally has some police work thrown in.   The question of whether or not Gerry is really dumb or smart is asked throughout the film and I found the reveal at the end to be more satisfying than I thought I would.

The Guard is written by an Irishman, filmed in Ireland and stars an Irishman - and it shows.  The vast majority of the humour comes from Gerry, what he does and says.  This is usually in the form of a put down or grumpy complaint.  The humour is very Irish (which is not something you hear everyday). 

A lot of Gerry's one-liners are based on racial and cultural clichés and were as hilarious as they were cringe worthy.  In Ireland the sense of humour dictates that everyone and everything is fair game at anytime and this rings true for the humour in The Guard. 

The set pieces ranged from farce (Gerry gets an ice-cream headache whilst he is being threatened into accepting a bribe) to emotionally poignant (Gerry reaction to his mother’s passing is completely silent but chock full of emotion) and worked perfectly

Brendan Gleeson deserves recognition for his performance and I sincerely hope he get it as he gives the performance of the year so far - it was a faultless.  Gleeson did not even have to speak in order to get a laugh – the “let me just slip into something a little less comfortable” line followed by the reveal of what he slipped into was very funny and went unacknowledged by the characters present in the scene

Don Cheadle looked bemused throughout the entire film but in fairness his character was totally out of his comfort zone and he played a good straight man to Gleeson’s Gerry.

The soundtrack could have been lifted from any western and the excitable and fast passed score coupled with Gerry's slow and grumpy movements shouldn't have worked but it did.

The Guard did nothing to quell the illusion that Ireland is a very green, cold and drizzle covered part of the world but it doesn’t fail to be impressive when shown on film.

It will be interesting to see just how wide a release The Guard gets or how well the humour will be received in other parts of the world as like it or not this is Irish humour at its darkest.

Thank the Lord for sneaky midweek trip to the cinema.  The Guard gets a 9/10 as it is downright hilarious, pull no punches with the humour and has created one of the most memorable characters in recent memory. 


  1. Hadn't heard of this but I'm a fan of both Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle, will have to keep an eye out for it, they always have a way of sneaking in imports.

  2. I saw the trailers to this last week and immediatley knew it was going to be a must see! But how under promoted was it? Honestly how can a film be made and no one ever hear of its existance? This came out of no where.
    But the trailers did look good and Gleeson is so good at these dead pan humourous roles. I'm looking forward to it as it will be a change from Hollywood's constant bombardment! Be nice to watch something from another part of the world. Somehow I think the humour will be well and truly recognised and go down well here in NZ.

  3. It is definately worth a look - even if it turns out that the humour isn't your cup of tea you would be hard pressed to find a fault in Gleeson's performance.

    It will be interesting to see if you both can understand the accent - I am from Ireland and I found myself having to really pay attention when some characters spoke. I know we are fast talkers but bloody hell!

  4. Had not heard of this film at all, which is kind of surprising since it has Cheedle in it. I guess I'm not as up on the film world as I thought.

    Good review! And thanks for stopping by my blog as well.

  5. Thanks for reading Dave

    Your Captain America review caught my eye


  6. o.k., I just want to say that the title of this movie in Italy it has been translated as UN POLIZIOTTO DA HAPPY HOUR [A Happy Hour Policeman]

  7. Nice!

    Happy Hour over here means that all drinks in a bar are cheaper :-)

  8. Yes, here it means the same :)