The Guard

An unorthodox Irish policeman with a confrontational personality is teamed up with an uptight FBI agent to investigate an international drug-smuggling ring.


Writers: John Michael McDonagh
Director: John Michael McDonagh
Stars:  Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle and Mark Strong
Runtime: 96 Minutes
Popcorn Score: Large Popcorn

We are introduced to Sergeant Gerry Boyle (Brendan Gleeson) as he is disrupted from his nap by a car full of teenagers flipping over on the road during his shift as a police officer in Western Ireland.   He does not rush out to survey the scene, he casually makes his way to the wreck and as he’s checking for life in the young bodies he steals and pops all of the drugs that he finds in their pockets.  Later on in the movie when the plot of the story is thickening, and the investigation is growing intense, he takes the day off that he requested a while back to go spend the day with a couple of hookers that he has clearly met before.  He drinks on the job and uses the children in the town as informants.  This is the type of Cop that Sergeant Boyle is.

FBI agent Wendell Everett is smart, detailed, and accurate, he knows the plan and he sticks to it.  He is a model agent of the FBI and is sent over to Ireland to assist local police in a massive drug smuggling operation involving up to half a billion dollars’ worth of Cocaine.  He has never broken the law; he hasn’t even bent the rulebook.  He is a great cop and he is teamed up with Boyle.

“The Guard” is an odd couple/ fish out of water story that has classic plot elements.  It’s a story that has been done before but in this case, done very well.  The writing is sharp and I would be lying if I said that I understood everything, in part because of the dialect of the Irishmen and women, and part because the quick wit of the jokes flying right over my head!

The story centers on the two cops’ building relationship and their best efforts to make it work to achieve the goal of catching the drug smugglers.  They are truly different, Sergeant Boyle is not raciest, but when he first meets Everett he runs off a string of extremely raciest and ignorant and funny remarks to Everett that clearly shows how far these two will have to come to see eye to eye on anything. Throughout the story there are touching moments between the two characters which do help them understand each other and make the audience relate, root, and genuinely like the characters.  The movie stays fun and fast paced throughout and before you know it the two are going into battle together.

The final shooting scene is much more reminiscent of a western than something you would see in a major blockbuster (this movie doesn’t qualify for either).  It is very controlled and precise with all involved using pistols rather than machine guns but has the intensity to match some of the best shootouts in anything I can remember watching.  The story leaves you with your curiosity and a satisfaction that you just found a true diamond in rough.

Large Popcorn.

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