directed by John Michael McDonagh
John Michael McDonagh has crafted a rare, though inconsistent, treat in the very funny film, The Guard. Starring a magnificent Brendan Gleeson, reliable Mark Strong and a very Cheadly Don Cheadle, The Guard tells the story of a drug caper gone wrong through the crossed wires of two very different cultures. I’m not going to compare this film to McDonagh’s bro’s film, In Bruges (though it seems to hit many of the same notes), but I will say that fans of such films will find themselves quite satisfied. It’s a tricky trick to walk the line the way films like this do, and occasionally it stumbles, as nearly all do, but it makes up for it in a whole package sense that leaves you feeling somehow warm and fuzzy, if such a thing were possible. The racism, the knowing, insider judgment (such as the case between the westerners and those from Dublin), the false conclusions, the pseudophilosophical criminal element, these plot ingredients have become the blues chords of the crimedy (crime + comedy). That’s right, y’all just witnessed the birth of a new term! And I would like 25p every time it is used (since the American dollar has gone to pot). What matters, however, is how each filmmaker plays those chords, and let’s just say that McDonagh is still learning, and I am excited to be there when he really finds his sound.