7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
The Guard – I can’t tell if you’re really dumb or really smart…,
This review is from: The Guard [DVD] (DVD)
The Guard – I can’t tell if you’re really dumb or really smart…
I absolutely loved this film. It’s still fresh in my mind with a nice rosy glow surrounding it, so it will be difficult for me to review objectively.
I didn’t really know what sort of film I was sitting down to watch, though I had a vague notion that it was a comedy. After watching it I still am not quite sure what it is, or if it can be pigeonholed so easily. There are laughs along the way, and a little bit of fun poked at some gangster movie clichés, but it is also dark and raw, with some very powerful and shocking scenes along the way.
It is the story of Gerry Boyle. A policeman who has seen a lot of life, and seems to have decided that a lot of the rules are petty and pointless, so he amuses himself with petty misdemeanours. Most of the comedy comes from him and his actions/reactions to events. But slightly corrupt as he may be, he cannot let the big things, the things that really hurt people, pass.
Events lead him to team up with straight laced FBI agent Wendell Everett (Cheadle). It’s the usual pairing of maverick and unbending sidekick, but one that works really well as the two actors turn in excellent, naturalistic performances.
And that’s the key to this film, the feeling of naturalness. As Boyle and Everett investigate a drug smuggling operation, we see police work and criminal acts presented as I have rarely seen them presented on the screen before. The policework is everyday, commonplace, with normal people carrying it out. In the middle of which is Boyle with his slightly skewed outlook on life. The villains seem like ordinary people, just doing a job. When the two worlds fatally collide, due to the naturalistic nature of the film and the pains it takes to not be an OTT gangster flick a la Lock stock, the murder of a policeman suddenly jumps off the screen as a genuinely disturbing event. For all the humour in the film, events like this truly shocked me. It’s a brilliant mix.
If you are looking for a laugh a minute schlocky gangster pic with a fast pace then this really isn’t the film for you. If you want a film that engages your brain, engages you with the characters, and uses an understated sarcasm to raise a smile while showing the reality of things that are often shown on TV for entertainment, then this is the film for you. 5 stars.