The Guard (2011)

Brendan Gleeson wraps himself into the type of role he was born to play, an unconventional, no nonsense, highly amusing Irish man.  Gleeson here is a country sergeant in the local police (called the Garda in Ireland) who manages things in his own delightful way.

From the opening scene, where he simply lets a car full of joy riders speed past him without any form of chase, knowing they are probably going to end up crashing and killing themselves, he casually appears on the aforementioned road crash, goes through the bodies looking for identification, only to find a small bag of drugs, where he throws most of them away, pops an ecstasy sticker on his tongue, turns around and utters “what a beautiful fucking day”.  

You are now setup for the type of sergeant we are about to see in full action as the area see’s its first murder and international drug smuggling operation.

With an excellent supporting cast,

Mark Strong

and Liam Cunningham lending their weight, but not so much as to take the real humor and personality away from Gleeson’s excellent natural performance.

Criminal: I didn’t know it was illegal to interfere with a lamb.
Sergeant: I would think so, for sure, what would its parents think?

The movie goes along at a wonderful pace with Gleeson in nearly every scene offering his rye social commentary on various situations.

The humour and banter notches up when “the American” FBI agent comes along (played by the excellent Don Cheadle), to offer his international help to the local law enforcement agencies as they try to land the drug smuggling gang hoping to land their haul of drugs on the Irish coast.

Mark Strong, playing his “Arch” character from Rocknrolla has some laugh out loud moments as he plays off the Irish characters as he believes they are hicks and not quite cut out for the professional criminal business.

‘Course it’s fucking all there. This is the pay-off, yeah? We pay you off, you and your pals keep your fucking noses out of our business. That’s the dynamic in this situation. Why the fuck would I then cheat you out your money? Eh? Why would I do that? That doesn’t make any sense. That’d defeat the entire purpose of the fucking interaction. Fuck me

While you could be forgiven that the interplay between Gleeson and Cheadle is taking on the classic cop buddy relationship, it never reaches its true cliche ending.  You sense he is simply tolerating the FBI agent with no real desire to help or even get to know him.   I like how the tension is kept here with no real conclusion to this relationship.

This movie, like his earlier In Bruges, was never destined to be a blockbuster hit though with a $6M budget, it made an impressive $19M worldwide.  This movie is the classic cult it was destined to be, with each viewing making it better than the last.

Must watch for any movie fan.


Viewing Date
Saturday, 22nd August 2015


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Author: Alan Williamson

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