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Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Guard



I guess it's Gaelic, for "The Guard" really means "the policeman." The police uniforms and cars had "Garda" on them.

The movie was hilarious, but I must have missed somewhere between 10% to 20% of the jokes, lost in the fog of Irish accent and dialect. Worse, I suspect that all the absurdities marked an Irish sense of humor --- black with a bite --- which went a little over my head. Indeed, during the movie I laughed frequently but a little uneasily, not unlike Don Cheadle's American cop who stared at Brendan Gleeson with equal parts of amusement and disbelief ("Is he truly dumb or just playing so?").

Meanwhile, the writer/director John Michael McDonagh continually referenced Hollywood action movie cliches. The climax especially recalled American westerns. It was very ... self-consciously meta, as suggested by Gleeson's knowing wink. Is that also an Irish thing?

Both Gleeson and Cheadle were impeccable, but who would have expected less from these two? However, it was the freckled boy on a bike with a dog that stole every scene he was in.

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