Guardians (2017)

The Guardians are a group of men who watch over old houses, Carlson finds himself starting to do this when he is thrown into a house as a live-in Guardian with Lavender, a mildly eccentric man to say the least. As they learn to share their living quarters, unseen forces make life more complicated.

From writer/director Mark A.C. Brown, this odd comedy with touches of home invasion and wtf is one of those that will hit just right with some people and will be aggravating for others. For those this hits just right, it’s one of those films with a very particular sense of humor that is rather British which sometimes dry here and oftentimes really inappropriate. For anyone having seen Mr. Brown’s previous film, a short called Stained, this comes as no surprise. Here he takes the longer format and runs with it, using stand-up comedians as part of his cast and actors who have great sense of timing to create a situational comedy/comedy of errors/budding friendship (?) story. It’s one of those films that will make most find at least one moment that will make them go “what the actual fuck” and that’s the charm of it.

The cast, comprised of stand-up comedians and actors, does great work of keeping a straight face through it all and has perfect delivery. Leads Matt Prendergast and David Whitney are fascinating to watch, their chemistry is something that works fantastically well here and they become one of the most unlikely team in cinema lately, to great effect. They use the script’s oddity to its best potential and bring characters are not completely likable to the screen in a way that makes the viewer want to see where they end up, makes them care even if somewhat in spite of themselves. The characters here are well tailored to talented actors who get to bring them to life in a way that gives the film much more than just a few jokes here and there to entertain. Also, keep an eye out for actors from Brown’s short Stained in this, making long, different yet funny appearances.

Guardians is a typically, yet atypically, British film that uses locations to their best potential while being shot in a manner that brings realism and beautiful images to the story. The night shots for example are beautiful, well-lit, and allow to get a feel for the night while still being able to see everything that needs to be seen. The cinematography by Suzanne Smith uses the darkness as well as the light to bring the film into its own. Her work makes great use of the outdoors in the city as well as the cramp space in the house. Her work helps establish the atmosphere inside the house and helps bring the house as a character of its own.

Guardians is a comedy that runs on the dark side of things and works great while doing so. The use of stand-up comedians mixed with actors is a fantastic idea and brings a sense of timing that is on point. The film has a look very much of its own created with careful set design, costuming, and cinematography. This is one of those that is a must see for people with a similar sense of humor or a sense of humor in general. It’s funny, it’s dark, it works. Guardians is one of those film that some viewers will find themselves watching over and over again, a bit like a disturned cousin to the films of Edgar Wright and company.