The independent dark comedy The Guard made its debut at the Sundance Festival in January. It stars Brendan Gleeson as Sergeant Boyle, a Irish policeman (known as the Guard) who is kind of crooked, but kind of not. He adheres to his own morale code which includes doing drugs and prostitutes but not being bribed by drug dealers. So when squeaky clean American FBI agent Wendell Everett seeks the help of the foreign police force to help him track down a trio of drug lords only Boyle can be trusted despite his bad habits.
There is a slick and dry wit to The Guard. Its sense of humor is certainly dark, but because of the great performance of Brendan Gleeson, it does not come across as dark or as perverse as it should. Gleeson as has a likability to him, so when Boyle takes drugs, utters racial slurs, and even frequents prostitutes there is an odd innocence to it. The vibe of the entire film is odd, so while it is often not laugh out loud funny (most of those parts are featured in the trailer) the movie never fails to entertain.
In addition to Gleeson, the film is packed with great character actors which pump life into all the roles. Don Cheadle is a great straight man mixed in the insane world built around him. Cheadle look of disbelief at what the people say and do around him raises the comedy of it all. Mark Strong is entertaining as the philosophical drug lord pondering the meaning of life while pulling off a huge drug heist. There is not a bad performance in the film.
The movie is entertaining but it certainly is not for everyone. There is a large amount of profanity used in the film, so if you don’t like swearing stay clear. Everyone in the movie has a very thick accent except for the lone American, so at times it can be difficult to understand the dialog. The plot is fairly straight forward as the movie spends the bulk of its time building its characters rather than building the complexity of the plot. I personally like that, but those looking for a good crime mystery will be disappointed.
The Guard is a pleasant excursion from the big popcorn movies released by the major Hollywood studios. It felt like a less complicated and much lighter “Fargo” type of movie. If you are looking for a different type of comedy than the high profile gross out films that have been released over the last few months the Guard is worth a look.
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Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.
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