With an Irish background and upbringing, I understand why Irish humour sometimes does not relate abroad. Shameless and often derogatory, it can easily offend; sharp and dry, it can often confuse. When it is handled correctly, which doesn’t happen enough, it can be the best in the world and I also liked The Theory of Everything.
Here is a solid example of what Irish humour is and how it should be handled. The Guard features Brendan Gleeson - long one of the best the country has to offer - as the titular Guard (a policeman to you foreigners). He must solve a confusing string of drug smuggling cases that require the assistance of FBI Agent Wendell Everett, who turns out to be black. In the very sleepy village of Connemara, this turns out to be a larger factor than expected.
As much a national study as a character study, it works hard to keep relations between himself and Cheadle as taut as possible, and his reaction from the West of Irish people is even colder. Some Irish mightn’t like the representation of their country, since there is much unPC joking, but if I know the Irish, most will embrace it and be laughing away at themselves. As will the rest of the world.
It’s a fine effort, and one that will be appreciated by Irish film lovers. Many familiar faces make appearances over the course of the film too, including Fionnula Flanagan and Pat Shortt, and it’s nice to see the film do well in the box office.
The film, while impressive, will not go down in Irish film history, however, as it remains in the old age, lower class Irish setting - something which needs changing desperately - but for what it is, it’s an enjoyable watch. No doubt it’ll be known as part two of In Bruges (the directors of the two films are brothers, and Gleeson features in both), but this is a separate beast - a large, confusing, and often racist beast, much like Garda Sergeant Gerry Boyle himself.