Film #27: The Guard (2011)

Directed by: James Michael McDonagh
Language: English and a little bit of Gaelic
Length: 96 minutes
Watched on: 3 September

I went to see this film pretty much on a whim and wasn’t disappointed. It’s basically a black comedy set in Ireland about a police officer who doesn’t give a shit. It’s inevitable that it’ll be compared to “In Bruges”, with which it shares an actor – also, both are about Irish people and their directors are brothers. But I think “In Bruges” wins somehow, possibly just because it’s even more tragic at the end.

This film captures the boredom of small town life in the arse end of Ireland rather well – and best of all, does it without being a boring film, like so many auteurish pieces before it. The plot is pretty much that Don Cheadle’s character, an FBI agent, is after some drug smugglers on the coast, and Brendan Gleeson is enlisted to help him. And, of course, Gleeson’s character is probably the most uncouth and racist on the entire police force.

Other scenes in the movie are pretty predictable but funny, such as Cheadle trying to get an answer out of village residents who refuse to speak English, and coming back to a Gleeson who proceeds to ask him very matter-of-factly whether it’s true that black folks can’t swim.

It’s quite a slow buildup overall, but with plenty of laughs, and there are a couple of cool action sequences in it, almost surprisingly. Well worth catching if you get the chance, anyway.

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