Saturday, October 07, 2006

My Take - The Guardian

My Take on the Movies
A Mini-Review of
By: A. L. “Toni” Anderson

Kevin Costner (The Bodyguard - 1992) is The Guardian, a seasoned United States Coast Guard officer responsible for saving hundreds of lives imperiled at sea off the coast of Kodiak, Alaska. The film also stars Ashton Kucher (Guess Who - 2005) as Jake Fischer, and Sela Ward (House, M.D.) as Helen Randall. Of interest are Omari Hardwick (Gridiron Gang - 2006) as Carl Billings and Dulé Hill (Psych) as Ken Weatherly. The film’s director is Andrew Davis (A Perfect Murder - 1998).

After losing his closest friend Carl in a tragic rescue attempt, Senior Chief Ben Randall (Costner) is yanked from duty by his superior officer, Captain Hadley (Clancy Brown of Lost). He is mercifully not relegated to a desk job as is expected for a man of his advanced years and experience, but is instead assigned to “A” School, where he becomes head instructor of a steadily dwindling group of prospective rescue swimmers. Cocky Jake Fischer is one of those recruits.

The Guardian’s story is one of an aging former record-holder and his adversarial relationship with a gifted younger swimmer, who is remarkably similar in temperament. Randall is so wedded to the Coast Guard that he risks his long-term marriage to Helen for its sake. Fischer has no other ties, having already lost all that was dear to him prior to his arrival at “A” School.

The film is beautifully done, and not only from a visual standpoint. The ocean panorama of the Bering Sea is awesome, if not peaceful. The rescue sequences are visually stimulating and will keep you on the edge of your seat. The plot delicately explores the personal lives of Randall and Fischer, and handles this exploration with tact and grace. There is a beauty that appeals to the eye, as well as to the mind and to the heart.

Overall, however, the best part of the film in my estimation is that it allows Kucher to stretch beyond his customary comedic roles and to display a more serious side of his acting abilities. I have to say I was impressed with his previously undisclosed talent. I was deeply affected by the film as a whole.

A search-and-rescue film may not be to everyone’s tastes, but there are elements of this film that will attract some part of anyone willing to spend two hours in a dark theater. The film begins and ends with the legend of a man living under the sea. By the end, it may make a believer out of you. [2:16]

♠ ♠ ♠ ♠ ♠

[© 10/06/2006]


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