Review: The Guard (2011)

The Guard is a comedic fish-out-of-water tale of murder, blackmail, drug trafficking and rural police corruption. Two policemen must join forces to take on an international drug- smuggling gang – one, an unorthodox Irish policeman and the other, a straitlaced FBI agent. Sergeant Gerry Boyle (Brendan Gleason) is an eccentric small-town cop with a confrontational and crass personality and a subversive sense of humor. A longtime policeman in County Galway, Boyle is a maverick with his own moral code. He has seen enough of the world to know there isn’t much to it and has had plenty of time to think about it. When a fellow police officer disappears and Boyle’s small town becomes key to a large drug trafficking investigation, he is forced to at least feign interest when dealing with the humorless FBI agent Wendell Everett (Don Cheadle) assigned to the case.

Now, more often or not the cast alone can make or break a film, even down to wether you want to see it in the first place. I mean if Tom Hanks was in a Michael Bay film I’d question my morals to see it despite my love for Mr. Hanks. The Guard stars two actors that I never thought I’d see work together in Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle. But you know what? It’s pure and utter genius.

Don Cheadle plays Wendell Everett, a straight, humourless stiff of an FBI agent that does everything by the book and takes no shenanigans. Cheadle performs solidly in this role and chemistry between him and Gleeson is just right.

Brendan Gleeson gives one of his best performances as Gerry Boyle, an ‘un-PC’ Police Officer who is often eccentric, crass and with a misguided racist sense of humour that is the perfect match up to Cheadle’s character.

The one thing that stands out the most in this film is the superb script, written by John Michael McDonagh who also directs. Now there seems to be some pedigree in the McDonagh family, Martin McDonagh is the other brother who directed and written 2008 brilliant In Bruges which also starred Brendan Gleeson. It seems these Irish siblings have a real knack of writing fantastic black comedy screenplays which are critically acclaimed.

I really loved The Guard, it’s incredibly witty and funny at the same time. You’d be hard pushed to find a better film than this to see this year. A highly recommendable and solid film. The Guard is one of the best of 2011.


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