The Guard

CRIME COMEDY; 1hr 36min

STARRING: Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle

Bar humbug: from left, Cheadle and Gleeson

“I can’t tell,” an exasperated FBI agent Wendell Everett (Cheadle) says to Sgt Gerry Boyle (Gleeson) of the Connemara Garda, “if you’re really motherfucking dumb or really motherfucking smart.” Crazy like a fox is more like it. Sgt Gerry is pugnacious, disrespectful of practically everything and everyone, a policing law unto himself and a fan of ladies of the night. On assignment in Ireland in pursuit of international cocaine smugglers, one of whom has been bumped off, Agent Everett is a highly educated, happily married stickler for procedure.


And so on, and so on. Mixing matters up still more, Gerry’s police colleagues are corrupt and his new partner (Rory Keenan) has vanished. It’s all grist to the blackly comic mill for John Michael McDonagh (brother of In Bruges writer-director Martin), who takes an oblique, talky approach to the generally serious business of illegal drugs. The humour is punchy and quick and although it never scales In Bruges’s bobby-dazzler heights, Gleeson and Cheadle are a big saving grace, sparring and bonding like the pros they are to the ambiguous end.