The Guard

An unorthodox Irish policeman with a confrontational personality is teamed up with an uptight FBI agent to investigate an international drug-smuggling ring.



Right out of the gate we know what kind of movie we are going to get. A car blasting loud music roars down the street and passes an idle police car. Seargant Gerry Boyle [Brendan Gleeson (In Bruges)] is sitting behind the wheel, and only pays notice to the car when you hear it crash a little ways down the street. Boyle checks the car and body for whatever they may contain, and finds a hit of acid, to which he says “Don’t think your mommy would be too pleased about that, now,” and then continues to take the hit himself.

Shortly after, the sergeant and his partner come across someone shot in the head with bible pages stuffed into his mouth, and an investigation is put underway. It turns out that he was one of four people involved in a large drug smuggling business. To help solve the case, FBI agent Wendell Everett [Don Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda)] comes over from America to lead the case. Boyle warms up to him by throwing racial slurs and stereotypes at him, as we see the birth of a hilarious and clashing relationship. The case seems pretty straightforward and slow until Boyle’s partner is found dead.

Read the rest of my review after the break.

Throughout this entire movie, I was laughing. I love this type of comedy. It’s not funny with jokes or quirks, it’s funny because the people are strange and different and unique, and their interactions with each other are immensely entertaining. It was some of the most satisfying comedy I’ve experienced all year. I wish there were more movies like that. But that is something that makes this movie so unique and good. Something else that was unique to see was the manner in which everyone regarded others, even enemies. Many times did they note someone’s courage, poeticism, integrity, and things of that nature when talking about an opponent or someone they just killed. The final 20 minutes are an excellent example of this. Maybe that’s just the way Irish people do things, which wouldn’t surprise me, really. They are very much different than we Americans.

Something really interesting is that this is writer/director John Michael McDonagh‘s first full length film production. This is his first work at all in movies since 2003. It’s a rare treat to find someone’s first film to be so well done. He is also the brother of Martin McDonagh, the writer/director of ‘In Bruges’, also starring Brendan Gleeson.

Gleeson, who hails from Ireland, is genuine and hilarious in his performance. A very fitting style for him that we know and love, and have seen in the past, albeit probably not this funny. Cheadle is good as the visiting American, and the cast of gangster do well to give the same sort of style as Gleeson and the other Irishmen do.

In the end, I “can’t tell if it’s really mother fuckin’ dumb, or really mother fuckin’ smart”.

My Rating

 3.5/4.0 – The Guard is a genuine and thoroughly funny movie about a drug trafficking gang in Ireland. Don Cheadle is good, but Brendan Gleeson is hysterical as he leads this movie to one of the best comedies of the year.


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