The Guard – *

Posted: April 25, 2012 in 2011, Comedy, Crime/Detective, Ireland, X

A few years ago In Bruges surprised audiences around the world. Martin McDonagh delivered a visually interesting pitch dark comedy crime movie with one famous actor (Colin Farrell) and a great side kick (Brendan Gleeson) set in a unique location (Bruges). The same ingredients can be found in The Guard, written and directed by Martin’s brother John Michael. But this time around the movie fails on all levels. I didn’t find the humor funny at all. It wasn’t even dark, let alone pitch dark. The famous actor this time is Don Cheadle who has a very minor role and acts like he wanted to just say his lines and get back to the states as soon as possible. Brendan Gleeson plays the main character this time (and he does it very well – truth be told). But the location can’t rival Bruges at all: a boring coastal village somewhere in Ireland.

The movie got five stars in Empire Magazine!!!!! And received rave reviews all over the (English-speaking) world. But it just didn’t appeal to me at all. On the contrary even. I hate watching movies in which I think I could have done a better job. I’m not an actor, not a producer, not a director, not a script writer. So watching a movie should make me feel in awe of what I see. This movie has two great actors, a great set up and the right atmosphere for a cool independent comedy. But it just doesn’t deliver.

Sometimes I wonder what film students learn in film school. I mean, I haven’t done any film school at all, but I know that constantly swapping between images when you hear two people have a conversation is NOT DONE. It happens several times here. I don’t understand  how someone who sees the final product doesn’t say: this is not working. You can use split screens! You can have the two people sit next to each other so you have them in one screen. You don’t actually need to switch to an image of the character that’s replying. You can have his voice be heard and film the recipients reaction. There are so many ways to make a conversation between two people interesting. That annoyed me a lot in this movie.

Sure it’s a low-budget production. And I don’t care that when people shoot at each other it looks like they rehearsed it once and then improvised in front of the camera, which only recorded one take. Hey, it’s nice to see people die at the first shot for a change. BUT why do you spend so much money on getting Don Cheadle on board to have him do absolutely nothing. He’s not important in the movie. The star of the movie is Brendan Gleeson. They could have just used any other unknown actor for Cheadle’s part. The main reason why I wanted to see the movie was to see the funny collaboration between an unconventional Irish village cop and a clever black FBI officer. Some of these cop buddy movies can be quite fun. But it just doesn’t bring any humor in the movie. Unless you find the simple racist remarks funny. “I thought black people couldn’t ski. Or was it swimming?”. “I didn’t know there were drug dealers that weren’t black”. etc; etc. etc. Boring. Not even politically incorrect funny.

What is it all about? a village cop needs to team up with a FBI agent to intercept a drug transfer that will take place off the Irish shore. Hey, maybe you guys will like it. I didn’t it.

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