Monday, August 1, 2011

The Guard

The Guard
seen @ Angelika Film Center, New York NY

So by the time this gets posted, Andrea will be on her way to Europe for the rest of the summer. I mentioned before how this cross-country hike she's taking is a lifelong dream of hers and how she wants to do it while she still can, and I'm glad that she's finally taking the opportunity to do so. It's like I told her when she initially made the decision, I went through the exact same thing when I chose to move out of New York (although I had to return eventually). Succeed or fail, I knew I had to at least try to do what I'd always wanted to do while I still could. I completely understood her choice...

...but I can't help but worry about her. An older woman, traveling alone in foreign countries (Spain and France), hiking through mountain trails - how can I not be worried? This isn't a 127 Hours situation; she won't be cut off from the rest of civilization. She bought her first cellphone for the occasion, there'll be other hikers on the well-trod path with her, and there'll be way stations in villages where she can sleep; she won't have to camp outdoors at night very often. She's had conversations with a friend who has done this exact same hike before and gotten all kinds of advice from him on what to do, and from the sound of it, she's prepared. So I shouldn't worry, right?

I would've preferred spending my last night with Andrea having a nice quiet dinner, but she really, really wanted to see the new movie The Guard at the Angelika. She wanted to see it so much that we ended up catching the final showing of the evening, at 10:15! She spent the afternoon and evening shopping for her trip and met me at the Angelika with two bags full of hiking-related stuff. They weren't heavy, but they did seem a bit cumbersome.

The Guard stars Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle. It's about an FBI agent investigating a drug-smuggling ring in a small Irish seaside town, forced to work with a local constable in solving the case. The local constable, however, is a racist, womanizing, foul-mouthed bastard. For awhile I saw this as little more than a rehash of similar films like The Limey, Sexy Beast, and In Bruges (the Guard director is the brother of the In Bruges director), with Cheadle being given little to do other than play straight man to Gleeson, but it had a surprising ending, and Gleeson does bring a nice amount of depth to his character.

I have never seen Andrea get so excited over a movie before. You'd think this was a Jason Bourne-style, non-stop action movie, she was so into it. In the obligatory big shootout towards the end, she was on the edge of her seat, literally fist-pumping and cheering on Gleeson and Cheadle. I could not believe it. I had to laugh. Not that the action on screen wasn't engaging (though due to the lateness of the hour I was fighting sleep in places), but it was just so... cute to see her get so worked up over this movie - which, after all, is the furthest thing from a summer blockbuster action flick, where reactions like hers would be much more common. And of course she also laughed in the funny places and was rapt in the more dramatic moments.

Needless to say, I did not react to The Guard the same way. Not that it was a bad movie; I thought it was fine, even if it wasn't something I'd rush to see opening night. I just didn't see the movie the same way as Andrea did - and she is as avid a moviegoer as I am. She's seen movies this year that I haven't; some of which I haven't even heard of. 

Seeing her get so into this particular film was funny, though, because it's also kinda typical of her, in a way. She doesn't come equipped with the expectations and preconceptions that other people walk around with, in large part because of her willingness to take the best parts of different ideas and disregard the rest. Sometimes the end result lines up with other people's worldviews, other times it doesn't, but she doesn't sweat it either way.

And now that mentality is taking her across the ocean for three months as she follows her dream. I've only known her for a short time, but it feels like so much longer. I believe she knows what she's getting herself into and that she's in for a grand and glorious adventure. And though I may worry for her... I think she'll do fine.


  1. What an awesome piece, Rich. It really lives up to your disclaimer at the top of the page, the way a semi-review is wrapped around the context of seeing a film. Beautiful writing.


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