The Guard

Rated R 96 min. 2011

The amoral, hopelessly hedonistic lawman at the center of this film is not that bad a bloke. In fact, despite his proclivities for booze, hookers, and the occasional tab of acid, you would want this cop on your side. The cop in question is Sgt. Gerry Boyle (Brendan Gleeson), a veteran policeman who patrols a quiet, quirky village in Ireland’s Connemara region. The sort of seen-it-all officer who doesn’t even flinch when he sees a car full of drunken teenagers crash to their deaths, Boyle is also a smartass ready to bust the balls of any cocky authority figure who threatens his jurisdiction. Enter Wendell Everett (co-executive producer Don Cheadle), an FBI agent who hits Ireland looking for a half-billion-dollar shipment of cocaine set to be picked up by a roving band of smugglers (Liam Cunningham, David Wilmot, and an amusingly ornery Mark Strong). Once Everett starts snooping around his community, Boyle starts yanking his chain, baiting him with racist taunts (“I only thought black lads were drug dealers!”) and put-downs of the U.S. of A. More offbeat than dark-hearted, and obviously drawing inspiration from the crude buddy-cop movies and eccentric acid Westerns of the ‘70s, The Guard is a black Irish comedy where both cops and criminals are more bored than content with their positions in life. Much like its protagonist, the film appears to enjoy taking the piss out of its audience, giving them a cynical yet cheeky neo-noir that tweaks the usual conventions and comes up with a story that may be familiar, but is told in fresh fashion.

Film Credits

Official Site:

Director: John Michael McDonagh

Writer: John Michael McDonagh

Cast: Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle, Liam Cunningham, David Wilmot, Rory Keenan, Mark Strong, Fionnula Flanagan, Dominique McElligott, Sarah Greene and Katarina Cas

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