DIR/WRI: John Michael McDonagh • PRO: Chris Clark, Flora Fernandez-Marengo, Ed Guiney, Andrew Lowe • DOP: Larry Smith • ED: Chris Gill • DES: John Paul Kelly • CAST: Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle, Liam Cunningham
A potent mix of Western tropes, slick black comedy and American cop procedurals, The Guard may sound cluttered but is actually a fairly smooth concoction. It tells the story of a Garda dealing with drug runners and corruption in a modern, if still oddly timeless, Ireland. Brendan Gleeson excels as the main focus; his character-actor sensibilities complementing a leading-man flair, which has been too long dormant. Playing The General, or say Michael Collins, threatened to make him iconic, but the essaying of historical characters always dominates a role. With The Guard he is allowed to create a character from scratch and the nuances he brings to the role of Sgt. Gerry Boyle are a masterclass in how to combine pathos with biting humour. Don Cheadle’s straight-laced FBI agent is left to navigate the eccentricities of this man and provides the film with a charming fish-out-of-water dimension.
Occasionally ever so slightly self-satisfied, the film works due to its balance. Despite some heavy themes, it is never too bleak nor does its emotional core ever become too sentimental or cloying. A modern gem but not for the politically-correct crowd, that’s for sure.
Rated 16 (see IFCO website for details)
The Guard is released on 8th July 2011
The Guard is in hot pursuit of €1.5million at the Irish Box Office click here to find out more.