An unorthodox Irish policeman with a confrontational personality is partnered with an up-tight F.B.I. agent to investigate an international drug-smuggling ring.An unorthodox Irish policeman with a confrontational personality is partnered with an up-tight F.B.I. agent to investigate an international drug-smuggling ring.An unorthodox Irish policeman with a confrontational personality is partnered with an up-tight F.B.I. agent to investigate an international drug-smuggling ring.
I feel a little for John Michael McDonagh as he will no doubt always walk in the shadow of his brother. Which is a burden most writer / directors do not have to deal with. Already an early reviewer has compared it to In Bruges. I think I gave In Bruges a ten star rating. This has an eight. In Bruges - as extraordinary as it was - had a whiff of truth about it and the danger in the movie was real. Here the action is so cartoon that it generates no tension at all, and you never really fear for the characters. Of course Gleeson is in both movies and in my opinion give a much better performance in In Bruges. . Here he is just having fun. Who can blame him... The characters in The Guard are drawn with very broad brush strokes, and lack any kind of subtlety. The sub-plot involving Fionnula Flanagan feels bolted on and slows the movie down. It's intended to show the main character has a softer side, but you can get that through the thrust of the main story, and the elements are there to take advantage of this. Simple things that could have been done to add a little more realism and heart to the movie that would have generated greater emotion, depth of feeling, tension, jeopardy and ultimately bigger laughs.
At the Q & A afterward it was suggested the script was written in 13 days. Clearly that was just a first draft - but I do think subsequent drafts were not worked hard enough. As sometimes there isn't enough breathing space between the jokes... so the bigger gags / situations don't build in the way they should. Or a moment of compassion is lost because a laugh comes rolling on top of it due to a cheap gag.In that respect it feels to me as if the writer / director is still learning pace and rhythm. It's very common in comedy where a writer doesn't want to lose what he feels is a good gag - but sometimes you have to cut gag A in order to get a bigger laugh on gag B. A stronger script editor on the film could have made all the difference.
So all in all it is a bravo. I very much enjoyed the movie. I do expect John Michael McDonagh to go on to bigger and better things and I wish the movie great success. After all 8/10 is a great score.
- Jul 8, 2011