The Guard


Irish Police and the FBI team up for a big case and a few laughs.

 The Guard (2011)

What better film to recommend for this Saint Patrick’s Day weekend than 2011’s Irish movie, The Guard, as in Ireland’s Garda Siochana, their national police force.  It is a wide-ranging action/drama/comedy that really brings some great entertainment to the table.  It’s a good craic.

The premise of the film is that Irish Garda Sergeant Gerry Boyle, played by Brendan Gleeson, is investigating a homicide in a small town on the far West Coast of Ireland.  Early in the film he is approached by FBI Agent Wendel Everett, played by Don Cheadle.  Everett is looking for assistance from Boyle in a major drug trafficking case.  Boyle is not interested, but the two cases wind up being related and they must team up.

There appears to be some sort of law in Ireland that Brendan Gleeson is required to appear in any film shot on the Emerald Isle.  He seems omnipresent on the Irish “silver screen” and has given some really good performances in dramatic film.  Here he delivers a performance that earned him a Golden Globe nomination, but not for drama.  Gleeson is at his comic best as the sarcastic and disinterested Sergeant Boyle.  An aficionado of prostitutes and enjoyer of days off, Boyle delivers one hysterical line after another.  A classic anti-hero.  Cheadle’s Wendell Everett is the typical FBI straight man with no use for the galivanting Boyle.  Cheadle does a nice job as the out of place black guy in the Irish hinterlands.

Director and writer John Michael McDonagh does a fine job with the film both as a writer and in his directorial debut.  He received a BAFTA award for best original screenplay.  (So anyway, I had to look up what BAFTA is.  It’s the British Academy of Film and Television Arts for those who don’t follow these things).  The Guard is the most successful Irish independent film of all time.  McDonagh captures the Western Irish landscape and personality perfectly.  Plenty of sharp comments, a solid dislike for the big city, and a few pints of Guinness make for a truly endearing Irish cop flick.

The film puts together some great lines and comedic moments.  I was laughing out loud through several moments of sardonic dialogue.  Tff-color and non-PC comments are refreshing in today’s hyper-sensitive atmosphere.  The Guard is not all fun and games though.  There is some drama and serious moments.  It is also not a bad straight-up cops and robbers story.  The drug dealers are ruthless and intent on getting their deal done.  They will kill anyone who gets in the way with tragic results.  Boyle and Everett must team up to bust the crew and make their collars.   

The Guard is an efficient hour and a half.  You would do well like to give it a go. We couldn’t find in anywhere for free, but you can rent it on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, YouTube, etc. for about $3 or $4.  It’s also available for purchase on those platforms.  Check out the JustWatch website for more info.  You can find current updates on where to watch any film or show for free or behind a paywall. 



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