Dropout UK @ The Guard Screening, Soho

Films You Needn’t See Before You Die: The Guard

The Guard, Film

My fellow Dropouts, do something better with your time and type in Beetlejuice (not the movie!) into Youtube; you’ll have a better laugh. John Michael McDonagh’s 'The Guard' has most of the necessary elements for a good comedy, particularly that of a notably good cast: Brendan Gleeson (Gangs of New York, Troy, the Harry Potter films) Don Cheadle (Crash, Hotel Rwanda, Iron Man 2) and Mark Strong (Green Lantern, Kick-Ass, Rock N Rolla); actors with long-standing careers and a string of top quality films.

Couple this with some pretty decent jokes and a storyline that begged for side-splitting success, it’s hard to comprehend how The Guard left the sour taste of disappointment.

The film is set in a small Irish town along the west coast where local policeman, the cantankerous Gerry Boyle played by Gleeson, becomes caught up in an international drug smuggling ring.

Cheadle is the investigating FBI agent Wendell Everett whose straight-laced conventional demeanour makes for great comedy against Boyle’s blatantly dismissive attitude and political incorrectness: “I thought only Black guys were drug dealers”. The unlikely pair therefore attempt to work together in order to stop Strong and his partners from evading justice.    

Regrettably the film failed to generate a sense of realism in the moments of peril through its inability to evoke the necessary fear in the viewer. For this reason the danger failed to build up any sort of suspense or tension, therefore disallowing the viewer to sympathise with the character’s life-threatening situation.

This was more than apparent in the ONLY action scene where Gleeson and Cheadle are caught in a stand-off with the drug dealers. Nevertheless the main problem was in the mechanics of the narrative, which lacked the art of misdirection, thus rendering the plot extremely dull as it plodded along in an average and highly predictable fashion.

I have to admit I was less than excited about watching the film simply from its title, but was fairly optimistic. I knew The Guard was a British comedy and hoped that it would follow in the success of previous films that sported British-American duos like Snatch with Jason Statham and Brad Pitt, along with Robert Carlyle and Samuel. L. Jackson in The 51st State.

The film’s only saving grace is in Gleeson’s ability to portray that miserable b*****d you can’t help but love, the true grumpy old man whose Irish charm is both offensive and hilarious. Yet unfortunately another film can be added to the list of many that should have been great, but significantly missed the mark. Definitely one for the thirty-somethings...and the Irish.

The Guard is released nationwide on August 19th


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