The Guard Review


Since opening the Edinburgh International Film Festival in June, The Guard has taken Britain by storm. With a slick combination of black humour and a sharp witty script, it is brought to life by one of Brendan Gleeson’s best performances to date.

Set in Galway on the Irish west coast, garda Gerry Boyle (Gleeson) is an unorthodox policeman who drinks on the job, takes recreational drugs and has a certain penchant for prostitutes. Wendell Everett (Don Cheadle), a by-the-book FBI agent, arrives to coordinate an operation against a drug smuggling outfit working in the area. When he is paired with the world-wearied dog, what ensues is a buddy cop film that breaks all the usual conventions.

Gerry Boyle is one of those characters who stays with you long after the film has ended. With a relatively crass approach to life, expressed through memorable one-liners and a lack of care of others’ opinions, writer-director John Michael McDonagh provides a refreshing alternative to the fish out of water story.

The rapport shared between Boyle and Everett is often hilarious as the Ivy League FBI agent is astounded at the Irishman’s racism and seeming ignorance. An assumption that Everett is from the projects rather than his actual privileged background leads to a hilarious deadpan reaction from him. With lines such as: “I’m Irish, racism is part of my culture,” delivered in a whimsical and harmless way, this is an endearing comedy that offers something relatively unique.

Its only drawback lies in the cinematography, which, though good, seems somewhat lifeless in comparison to the strong script and brilliant acting performances. However, this is a minor let down to what is otherwise a highly enjoyable film. This is one of the best comedy thrillers for a long time with an arguably award-worthy performance from Gleeson.

Taken from The Student, published Tue Sep 13th 2011.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: