#Film4FilmNite – The Guard

Director: John Michael McDonagh

Year: 2011

Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle, Liam Cunningham, Mark Strong, David Wilmott

Running Time: 96mins

Brendan Gleeson plays Gerry Boyle, a Sergeant in the Garda based in Connemara, Galway. He is belligerent, unorthodox and unpredictable but also principled in his work as an officer of the law. In the small town that he is responsible for he is called to a murder scene where he meets newly transferred Aiden McBride (Rory Keenan) and they set about trying to figure out who the victim was and why he was targeted.

The case is further complicated by the introduction of FBI Special Agent Wendell Everett (Don Cheadle) who has been brought over to attempt to intercept a large shipment of drugs, worth $500 million, that is bound for Sgt. Boyle’s patch. Unfortuntatly for Agent Everett, Boyle has information on one of the crew suspected of the shipment and is furthermore bound to the bigger case and forced to work alongside the FBI agent.

Both officers of the law have wildly differing views on how to deal with the case, and each gets their results, but it appears that Everett is completely out of luck and a fish out of water in this little corner of the world, he needs Sgt. Boyle’s local support and knowledge to try to crack this case before the shipment gets away.


Cleverly done, and not over the top, the relationship between Everett and Boyle is completely at odds with each other, with Brendan Gleeson absolutely superb as Boyle and Don Cheadle as the competent but slightly useless Everett. Up against them are the smugglers (Liam Cunningham, Mark Strong and David Wilmott) who are pretty ruthless and a bit unhinged. A fair amount of comedy runs through this film, mostly at Sgt. Boyle’s expense and his methods but it also takes in some heavier aspects of life.

All in all, The Guard is an enjoyable journey with a couple of ill-suited lawmen who remarkably attempt to foil the biggest drug smuggling operation that Galway has ever seen.

Rating:     ½

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