“The Guard” is a dark comedy revolving around an unorthodox Irish police officer, played by Brendan Gleeson. He’s a hard partying man with little respect for the formality of the job, but he still has a strong sense of honor, and great instincts.
When murderous drug traffickers attempt to move $500 million in cocaine through the country, he finds himself paired with an uptight FBI agent from the United States (Don Cheadle). Together they have to track down and stop the gang of criminals before anyone else gets killed.
Sergeant Gerry Boyle (Gleeson) has a way with his job. He’s irreverent and indifferent, yet strangely effective. You get that sense that too many years on the beat have burned him out. He has no time to waste on foolishness now. His personal lifestyle is also nothing like what you’d expect of a cop. He parties hard and has a penchant for prostitutes, and really barely even cares who knows.
When people start turning up dead in his precinct, it’s not much of a stretch for him to presume the blame lies with a trio of narcotics traffickers reported to be in the vicinity. American FBI agent Wendell Everett (Cheadle) holds a briefing for the police detailing the men’s activities, and though Boyle is disruptive and disrespectful, he also seems to be the only one with any solid leads.
This temporarily partners the two very different men up. The results driven Irish cop who couldn’t give less of a shit about formality and the by the books American FBI agent begin to work together at tracking down the smugglers and solving the murders. Along the way they’ll run across crooked cops, gun-toting children, tag team hookers and of course, the philosopher quoting drug runners themselves.
It’s an offbeat comedy to say the least. Quiet and reserved for the most part, and never trying to hit the big laugh. Instead, it works on building the characters (primarily Gleeson’s Boyle) and letting their interplay drive the movie. Boyle comes across as a cop who can’t be bothered at times, and then at others, you get the feeling that he’s four steps ahead of things, and that’s why he doesn’t need to waste his time on the details. He drinks and drugs and hires out hookers in pairs, but at the same time he has an ailing mother that he obviously cares for very much.
It’s these kinds of contradictions that make for an interesting character, and thus an interesting movie. Pairing him up with Cheadle’s straight-laced FBI agent is the perfect contrast to showcase all of his eccentricities and quirks. But as the film proceeds, Boyle’s ways will begin to win you over, and you’ll find yourself rooting for him to win the day.
“The Guard” is half crime drama, half comedy, but always a little understated. Even in Boyle’s wildest hours, “Over the top” is a phrase that would never be associated with this movie. But it’s that quietness that lends it most of its charm, and it does have charm. It’s written and directed by John Michael McDonagh, who creates a great character in Boyle and peppers the movie with some very artistic shots in order to keep the low-key story visually involving.
A solid flick, I found it very amusing.