The Guard (15)

THE GUARD             Cert 15, 96 mins, Ireland 2011

Summary Brendan Gleeson (remember “In Bruges”?) as a flawed policeman stars alongside Don Cheadle as a straight-laced FBI agent in this very black comedy set in Connemara.  A conventional cop-buddy movie this is not!

Review by Moira Collett Highly recommended by a friend who had seen it ages ago in Dublin, I couldn’t wait to see ‘The Guard’, and I wasn’t disappointed.  This is a very black comedy brought to us by John Michael McDonagh, brother of Martin McDonagh who was the writer/director of ‘In Bruges’.  And it’s nearly as good – which is intended to be high praise for my favourite film of 2011. Brendan Gleeson as Boyle, an unorthodox (you get the picture when he drops a tab found in a crashed car even before the credits) Irish cop in the depths of Connemara is trying to solve an enigmatic murder.  Then Don Cheadle arrives in the form of a straight-laced FBI agent (Everett) who has been sent to investigate an international drug-smuggling ring allegedly operating in this quiet corner of coastal Connemara.  Boyle is racist (“I’m Irish. It’s part of my culture”) which completely baffles Everett who never knows whether Boyle is joking.  There are a couple of happy prostitutes too, alongside Boyle’s other interests which include swimming and Russian literature. Everett is incredulous and intense but has no choice but to partner Boyle and the most unlikely cop-buddy relationship develops.  Cheadle is the fall-guy to a faultless comic performance from Gleeson, who really steals the scene.  Oh, and Mark Strong (who seems to crop up everywhere these days) reprises his hard man act as one of the drug barons – a part he plays to perfection as usual.  Although it’s a comedy, it is very black, and there is some serious violence as well as laughs, but don’t let that put you off this great film.

Link to Guardian review