Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Irish People

All round good reviews. Some fantastic actors. Irish accents. Tempted to watch the movie already? You should be. Created by the brother of In Bruges' director Martin McDonagh, we have another dark comedy starring Irish men and dead bodies. So let's see how it is. This is The Guard.

Unorthodox police officer, Sergeant Gerry Boyle (Brendan Gleeson), works for The Irish Guard in a Gaelic speaking region of Ireland. One day he finds himself with a chirpy, young new partner as they investigate a recently murdered body. After many inappropriate jokes from Boyle, they go for a drink. Well, Boyle goes for a drink. Later they discover the FBI are around looking to bust a massive cocaine smuggling business. FBI agent Wendell Everett (Don Cheadle), leading the operation in Ireland, informs the local Guard of the situation. They are looking for five men. After some confrontation, Boyle informs Everett that they are only looking for four men; the fifth was the murdered body he was investigating. And thus, Everett and Boyle are thrust into investigating together. After the mysterious disappearance of Boyle's new partner, things start to get more and more interesting. Looks like it's time for a think over a Guinness.

Official report: The victim's life was flipped upside down

Brendan Gleeson, as always, is absolutely fantastic. I haven't laughed at one man so much for a long time. There's something very subtle about Gleeson's performance, despite playing one of the most out going and forward characters around. Underneath all that, there's a visible pain. The pain of his mother being so close to death or the fact that only prostitutes like him, and these things just build Boyle as a character and make him constantly interesting to watch, right until the last moment. Don Cheadle is great as well. Admittedly, he's a lot weaker than Gleeson, but he's the straight man to Boyle's ridiculousness. It's a combo that I could watch again and again. The bad guys are also fantastic, particularly Mark Strong. The 'get things done' criminal amongst evil masterminds, or people that wish they were evil masterminds, is suddenly a lot more engaging to watch than he would be in other circumstances.

Boyle's investigations were getting a little childish.

John Michael McDonagh is a long way off his brother. While his script is hilarious, touching, and dark, he lacks the thing that Martin McDonagh does so well: heart. There's a lack of heart to the movie. Characters develop randomly at points with decisions that are simply never explained. It is so almost there and, with a little more work, John Michael McDonagh will be producing fine work. The setting of country Ireland, however, is shot so beautiful and the soundtrack is so wonderfully chosen. Technically, it is a great film. There's just that layer of heart missing.

Despite that, The Guard is a wonderfully satisfying movie. It finishes well, something that's very hard for a rogue buddy cop sort of film, and keeps you laughing along the way. Definitely worth watching.

Best bit? The bit I laughed at most was the car ride with Boyle and Everett where they discuss Disneyworld and babies. I simply could not stop laughing.

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