Posted by: greercn | August 30, 2011

The Guard

“The Guard” is such a misleading title. I think American viewers will imagine it is about school crossing patrols and skip it. That would be a mistake because this stylish thriller has some of the best dialogue and cleverest plotting of 2011.

Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle play off each other in absolutely enchanting ways, sparring and annoying and charming in equal measures.

Gleeson plays a west of Ireland policeman (Garda) who gets caught up in trying to foil a drug smuggling ring. Cheadle’s role is to be an FBI man loaned to the Irish to help out.

Mark Strong stands out as a bad guy in a strong supporting cast. When will someone give Mark a good guy role? Please? Soon?

John Michael McDonagh goes one better than “In Bruges”, reaching the same sardonic highs but playing with words in a new and lyrical way.  McDonagh directed this film and you feel his love of character, pacing and plot.

Much of it is daft and ironic, but I didn’t look at my watch once. It flies by and engages your senses fully.

I am told that North American friends have had trouble following the dialogue and, indeed, people were complaining at the Notting Hill Gate Picturehouse that that couldn’t keep up some of the accents in this and would have liked subtitles. The words go by very quickly and you need to be comfortable with Irish accents to get the most out of this.

The Gate Picturehouse is always a beautiful place to see a movie and it’s nice to be with an audience that so adores film and knows how to be quiet and respectful.

You can probably wait to see this on DVD as there is nothing big or special in the effects and I suspect it might even be better and more intimate on a small screen. You will see very little this year as playful, real and beautifully written.

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