The Guard 2011 Movie Scene Brendan Gleeson as Gerry Boyle standing next to his police car

The Guard [2011]

The Guard is an engaging black comedy with a serious crime story. Firstly, you should know that the director is John McDonagh. His brother Martin is the guy behind some pretty cool movies like In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths. You can expect pretty much the same vibe here but also much better character development. The plot is very easy to follow and yet it offers some thought-provoking moments.

Brendan Gleeson is one of the main reasons why you should check out The Guard. This is one of his best roles and you can feel he had a great time playing the character of a local cop in a lot of trouble. Just a couple of years later, McDonagh and Gleeson will meet again on a set of a much more serious movie Calvary. In both of these movies, his commanding presence and charm created a very unique atmosphere. It’s serious, sad, and at the same time fucking hilarious. 

The Guard also stars Don Cheadle, Liam Cunningham and Mark Strong, so the rest of the cast is pretty strong too. The fact the movie is set in Ireland gives it a special flavor. This small country is a fucking vibe. And I’m not just talking about the beautiful and rugged landscapes but also people and those quaint little villages. Everything is likable and charming, including the accents. Waking Ned Devine, Grabbers and Isolation are perfect examples.

Sergeant Gerry Boyle is a small-town cop in Ireland living a simple life. In this pretty much dull environment he finds excitement in prostitutes, drugs, and alcohol. Just like most of us, minus the prostitutes. This is his choice that does not interfere with his police work or other areas of his life. After a dead body was found in his town occult elements, things start to complicate and later involve drug smuggling and even an FBI expert sent from the USA.

I still can’t get over just how funny The Guard is. And since Don Cheadle’s character comes from America to Ireland, we will get a lot of hilarious banter. Not to mention our smugglers and their adventures. The script is very intelligent but at the same time also feels honest. Boyle is a cynical and sarcastic character ready to tell everyone how he feels right in their face.

As you can notice, there will be quite a lot of criminal elements in the story. After all, this is a pretty weird buddy cop movie. So, you can actually say it shares some similarities with the new wave of British crime movies like Snatch or Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

Director: John Michael McDonagh

Writer: John Michael McDonagh

Cast: Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle, Liam Cunningham, Mark Strong, Katarina Cas, Mark Strong

Fun Facts: The film Boyle is watching at home is The Shout [1978] starring Alan Bates and John Hurt.


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