Gaelic Guffawing to The Guard: a Recommendation from Steve

Quite simply The Guard is one of the funniest movies I’ve seen this year. There is nothing particularly original about it, but those involved take a premise we’ve seen before and twist it just enough to turn it into a true delight. On the one hand, it’s your basic fish out of water story. FBI Agent Wendell Everett (Don Cheadle) is on the trail of drug runners and ends up in a small town in Ireland where he clearly doesn’t fit in. That leads to the other premise we’ve seen many times before, the mismatched cops. This time, circumstances (including a murder in that small town) force Everett to team up with a cop from that town, a cop who’s been used to doing things his own way. The cop, Gerry Boyle, is played by Brendan Gleeson. Of course, at first they can’t stand each other, but they grow to respect and even befriend one another. Yes, we’ve seen it before, but, as is true with so many things in life, including many movies, it’s not what you do but how you do it.

Cheadle has the unenviable task of being the straight man and he delivers his usual strong performance. Gleeson is the real treat here. His performance as Sergeant Boyle is a riot. Actually, I’ve loved him in everything I’ve seen him in, particularly 28 Days Later and In Bruges. If you’ve missed In Bruges, by all means check it out (beware though that it is violent and strange). It is written and directed by Martin McDonagh, the younger brother of John Michael McDonagh, who wrote and directed The Guard. Gleeson also played Mad-eye Moody in the Harry Potter films. I was so pissed when he was killed so early in the 7th HP film. They should have rewritten the movie to keep him in it to the end! Here he is hilariously Irish. His Irish accent is so strong that you might miss a word or two, but what you do understand will have you guffawing. What you won’t miss is the F word. That comes through clearly and frequently. If you are offended by “pervasive language” you probably should skip this one. In addition to the great laughs brought on by Gleeson himself and in combination with Cheadle, I also enjoyed the drug runners who are wannabe philosophers. Some of their dialogue is quite a hoot. Although, mostly a comedy, this movie also has a tender side, seen in Boyle’s relationship with his mother and in events involving a young cop who is assigned to  work with Boyle. So, do yourself a favor. Rent The Guard.

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