Indie Movies ‘The Guard’ and ‘Higher Ground’ out on Blu-ray Now

by Eric Melin on January 15, 2012

in Blu-ray/DVD Reviews,Reviews

This review originally appeared in shorter form on KSNT-NBC, KTKA-ABC, and KTMJ-FOX, Kansas First News.

the-guard-blu-ray-2011The Guard (2011)

The Guard, one of the funniest and most bizarre movies of last year, is out now on Blu-ray and DVD.

Written and directed by John Michael McDonagh, The Guard stars Don Cheadle as an American FBI agent who experiences a severe amount of culture clash when he travels to Ireland on the trail of a bunch of drug smugglers.

There he runs into Brendan Gleeson playing one of the most delightfully non-PC characters to appear on the big screen in quite a while.

At first glance, his sergeant is a rude, racist, cop with no respect for anybody, but as the movie develops, it’s clear that he has his own strictly defined moral compass and it’s his nonconformist views that give the movie its edge.

In fact, Gleeson is prosthelytizing so much of the time that it’s only the moments alone with his sick mother (Fionnula Flanagan) that we truly see another side to him.

John Michael McDonagh is having a lot of fun deconstructing the cop procedural in The Guard, because almost nothing goes as planned and everything has a satirical bent. It’s definitely a movie that will throw you off guard — no pun intended.

Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle are the best odd couple of the year and The Guard is a very funny black comedy with a stylish palette.

higher-ground-2011-blu-ray-coverHigher Ground (2011)

Higher Ground, also new out on Blu-ray and DVD, is the directorial debut of Vera Farmiga, best known for movies like Up in the Air and The Departed.

In the spotty Higher Ground, Farmiga plays a woman struggling with her devout Christianity over three decades of her life.

It’s a slow movie, and one that doesn’t shy away from straightforward portraits of people professing their faith in all kinds of ways.

Movies don’t often show the religious fervor of characters like these with such earnestness, and Farmiga’s layered performance helps the movie through some rough patches.

Higher Ground overreaches a bit when—pardon the pun—it tries to cover too much ground, but rarely does it simplify the complicated relationship between life’s twists and turns and the role of God in one’s life.

Eric is the Editor-in-Chief of and writes for The Pitch. He’s former President of the KCFCC, and drummer for The Dead Girls, Ultimate Fakebook, and Truck Stop Love . He is also Air Guitar World Champion Mean Melin. Eric goes to 11. Follow him at:

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