FILM: The Guard

An eccentric, small-town Irish cop confronts a privileged, uptight American FBI agent to fight a circle of international drug traffickers and a culture of corruption in the new, fantastically dark comedy The Guard from writer/director John Michael McDonagh.  The magic of the film lies within its well executed characters, especially the leads of FBI Agent Wendell Everett played by veteran Don Cheadle and Sergeant Gerry Boyle of County Galway played marvelously by Brendan Gleeson, who tosses away convention, yet somehow finds himself a hero of sorts.

The story appears to be your typical fish out of water amid small town quirky tale, but thanks to the wealth of absurd and sarcastic moments and the quality of the performances, the film feels fresh.  The film also features a terrific and varied supporting cast and was filmed on location in Ireland, allowing for some gorgeous backgrounds with a distinct sense of color. The pacing of the film is also spot-on with a brilliant sense of comedic timing balanced out with more emotionally revealing scenes and it all works thanks to an excellent script.

The film deals with a range of issues such as wealth, drugs, sex, death, and humanity in a straight-on confrontational way and manages to find some really humanistic conclusions.  In all, it might be best compared to the 2008 film In Bruges which was written and directed by McDonagh’s brother and likewise is an entertaining and adventurous film which has a distinct flavor and is well worth seeing.

The Guard opens July 29th in theaters.

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About Tim Needles

Tim Needles is an artist, photographer, humorist, and writer from Long Island, NY. His writing and art work has been seen in multiple exhibitions and publications around New York as well as the Photographer’s Forum, French Photo, the New York Times, and LI Pulse magazine. He is also an educator and currently teaches art and film at Smithtown, NY and as an Education Leader for Adobe. He was recently the recipient of the Robert Rauschenberg Award in Washington DC and serves as the director of Strictly Students, a non-for-profit group for media and education. His work can be seen on his website: www.timneedles.com
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