Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle, Mark Strong
Director: John Michael McDonagh
Running Time: 97 mins
The Guard is an Irish film about a local police officer who is teamed up with an overseas FBI agent to investigate and defeat an international drug smuggling ring involving bent coppers, Americans, and all sorts of dangerous thugs.
This film is good fun. It’s not the most hugely entertaining comedy-thriller, nothing in comparison to In Bruges, but it has a good degree of depressing, typically Irish laughs that give it its own distinctive feel.
What I really liked about this film was how it managed to blend the comedy and the thriller aspects together so seamlessly. Normally, a funny thriller can seem a little bit forced, with just a typical blockbuster screenplay with a lot of mediocre jokes put in, but here, it wasn’t at all like that.
One of the ways in which that works so well is the setting. Similar to all British/Irish sarcastic crime thrillers, it’s a crime on a grand-scale set in a little hamlet with about four angry people in it, and that works just as well in this film, making for a funny contrast between the ‘big city’ situations, and your average local sergeant getting thrown into something like this.
The story was also quiet good. It’s nothing spectacular or particularly exciting, but it was definitely interesting enough to make it consistently engaging to watch. Although you know who’s up to everything, and the answers to all the mysteries being solved, which is a little disappointing, it manages to be action-packed enough to just keep you interested for the duration without becoming predictable.
The main thing that annoyed me a little was the fact that this was just a little bit too Hollywood-ified. You can see at a lot of points that the story is just taking the mick out of Hollywood thrillers, but by the end, it turns into the exact thing that it’s mocking by becoming just a little bit too much about guns and explosions etc., and that was, I have to say, a little disappointing to see.
Overall, then, this gets a 7.0, because although it was funny, and had an alright story, it was too Hollywood and not original enough to be right up there with the best independent comedy-thrillers.