Wednesday, August 17, 2011
IMDb listing -
Roger Ebert’s review -
The Guard (written and directed by John Michael McDonagh) runs like a rural Irish inversion of the famed Eddie Murphy movie Beverly Hills Cop. Thoroughly competent/professional African-American FBI man Wendell Everett (played by Don Cheadle) comes to rural Galway in the western reaches of Ireland to work with Irish local and national authorities to intercept an anticipated half-billion dollar drug shipment. When he arrives, to his horror, he’s forced to team-up with an amiable but thoroughly “unprofessional” seeming rural cop (member of the Irish Garda) named Sargent Gerry Boyle (played by Brendan Gleeson). After a disastrous initial meeting at a briefing on the matter, Everett is shocked to find that on the first day on the case together, Boyle notes that it’s his day off and proceeds to take it. To Everett there’s "not a minute to spare," to Boyle there’s nothing that could possibly happen that could not wait until the next day. And so it goes...
At one point an exasperated Everett says to Boyle: “I just don’t know if you’re just really, really stupid, or if you’re really, really smart.” [Those who see the movie, will note that my phraseology is sanitized for the readership here ;-)]
It turns out, of course, that Boyle knows quite well how things go in western Ireland, and in a climactic scene near the end when Boyle and Everett find themselves taking on the drug-smugglers themselves, Everett asks, “Should we call for back-up?” Boyle answers quite sadly and knowingly, “There will be no back-up.”
Such it _also_ is in rural western Ireland (and in much of the rest of the world): All the authorities knew, more or less, where the shipment was probably going to come. And all the authorities _also knew_ (and quite well) to stay far, far away from it ... (Honestly, that was one of the best, most gut-wrenching dialogue exchanges in a police drama that I’ve seen since similar scenes in the Kevin Costner/Sean Connery film The Untouchables or, for that matter in the closing scene in the Harrison Ford/Brad Pitt, New York/IRA drama The Devil’s Own).
And Everett’s comment “I just don't know if you're really, really stupid, or really, really smart,” resonates to the very end.
Parents should be warned that there is a good deal of bad langauage and other crudity in the movie that isn't for little kids and that Boyle is certainly not a paragon of moral virtue. But he does take his dying mother to Confession... And again, _so it goes_ in this movie: The humor, even when it is crude, is _gentle_ and based on what I've learned over the years of Ireland / the Irish (I am 75% Czech and the remainder Russian/Ukrainian...) it's very, very Irish ;-).
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