BRENDEN GLEESON DON CHEADLE
If you saw Brendan Gleeson’s performance in the film In Brugesy ou can understand why he was again nominated at the Golden Globes for The Guard. These Irish shoot-em-up films with Gleeson’s dry humor seem to tug at the Foreign Press’s heart strings. Gleeson, a fine actor, has chosen some great roles over the years that keep elevating his popularity. He seems to be most accomplished, however, not in the big budget films like Harry Potter or Cold Mountain, but rather in his small hometown films. Putting Gleeson and Cheadle on screen together is almost as good as Gleeson and Colin Farrell. However, The Guard moves at a snail’s pace comparatively.
Sergeant Gerry Boyle (Gleeson) is as smart as a whip, but you wouldn’t recognize it right off. He has been in his position quite a while, and is nice and comfortable in his way of life until high profile drug dealers come passing through his small little Gaelic speaking town. With the drug dealers in town, FBI agent Wendell Everett (Cheadle) also shows up and doesn't know what to make of Boyle, who also claims he came in fourth place at the Olympics in swimming. With an officer missing, Boyle tries to take the case seriously, but doesn’t allow his mid week holiday to be interrupted by his regular hookers.
Boyle is a funny character that seems like the third set to the Hot Fuzz crew. However, he never breaks a sweat and it's an effort to keep your attention because this movie has no interest in attention span. Gleeson assumes the type of familiar role he has built a career on, but inserting a little more madness than normal. It’s Cheadle (also playing a familiar character) that seems like a complete waste. Mark Strong has a few subplots and villain scenes, but also never has enough screen time to make a lasting impression.
There were certainly better comedic actors who could and should have been recognized for their work in 2011. With the Golden Globes, it’s more about welcome familiarity, at least with the famous faces. Gleeson’s nomination was as much of a surprise as it was back when he was nominated for In Bruges (they gave the award to his co-star Farrell that year). Hot Fuzz was at least a farce that had more memorable one liners and action; the height of cleverness in The Guard is Boyle’s political incorrectness.
Final Thought – The slow pace makes it hard to enjoy.
By: Dustin Chase W.
Editor: Michael Woody
Dr. Donna Copeland’s
This is a quirky film with lots of humor and excitement. John Michael McDonagh wrote the script and directed a fine cast in a story with originality and surprising twists and turns. It has its tender, thoughtful moments as well, along with moments testing the characters’ ethics and morality. Brendan Gleeson as Sergeant Boyle and Don Cheadle as FBI agent Wendell Everett are an unlikely pair—one a seeming buffoon and one an educated by-the-rules man—charged with subverting a multi-million dollar drug delivery and arresting the criminals. If ever trust needed to be earned, it’s between these two
The laughs come in unlikely places such as racist and cultural stereotyping, criminals talking and arguing about philosophers and their ideas, a child being a step ahead of his elders, and bending the rules to get to the truth. The refreshing part is that the humor is not really at anyone’s expense; it’s more like the writer showing humans being human.
Along with the script, the actors are top-notch, including the two main characters, but also colorful figures such as Boyle’s mother (Fionnula Flanagan), a young boy Eugene (Michael Og Lane) whom Boyle pumps for information, a rookie cop (Rory Keenan), and of course, the three criminals (Liam Cunningham, David Wilmot, Mark Strong).
The Irish dialog is difficult to understand at times, but persistence in listening carefully pays off. There are so many laughs and good lines, it’s no big loss to miss a few.