The Guard Review

Don Cheadle and Brendan Gleeson star in a fish out of water tale, where trust, cultures and millions of dollars are on the line. How does it hold up?

Story - Sergeant Gerry Boyle is a small-town Irish cop with a confrontational personality, a subversive sense of humor, a dying mother, a fondness for prostitutes, and absolutely no interest whatsoever in the international cocaine-smuggling ring that has brought straight-laced FBI agent Wendell Everett to his door. That is the story synopsis.

The story is funny and is one of the better cop fish out of water stories. We have seen tons of fish out of water stories involving cops. However this one does things a little different. One thing is the location of the story doesn't take place in the USA. It takes place in Ireland, and the FBI agent Wendell played by Don Cheadle is the fish out of water in this story. He is in Ireland investigating a cocaine smuggling ring, he is partner up with a SGT. Gerry Boyle played by Brendan Gleeson. Boyle is a cop you're not used to seeing, he doesn't at times seem to take his job seriously. He is the type of cop who would rather sleep with hookers, than get to work. This causes conflict with these two guys as Wendell is serious about his job, and at times it seems Boyle doesn't care at all. However when you peel the layers back on Boyle, you'll get a very interesting character study on why he is the way he is. You'll start to understand where the antics are coming from, and how he likes to mess with people. The only flaw of the story is the pacing in certain scenes. It feels a little dry when you get to the more emotional sections. Otherwise this fish out water story is funny, and will have you asking the same question Wendell asked "Is Boyle stupid or really smart?"

Acting - The acting is spot on. Cheadle and Gleeson have wonderful chemistry together. Cheadle reaction to certain comments that Gleeson makes about culture difference, will have you laughing. Gleeson holds the film strong, his character is lazy and doesn't give a damn. When it comes to the serious tone of the film, Gleeson transforms into a vulnerable character that you can emphasize with, you'll forget that he acts like a crazy man sometimes. Mark Strong also brings his charm into the film, as a drug trafficker who is tired of being in the business. Strong brings a sarcastic tone to the role as he grows tried of the life he leaves. The acting is believable and spot on, you will be wrapped up into this world crazy world of Boyle.

Music & Filmmaking - The music brings element of a Western. You'll get a OST with composition that you will see in a Western film. The score works and brings the theme of a Western out in full effect. The location are gritty, dark and captures parts of the real Ireland. Director John Michael McDonagh wanted a Western feel to the film and he delivers. Although there isn't much gun play, you get the Western feel as Boyle investigates, interrogates and when it finally gets to the gun play things will explode.

Final Grade B+/8.5 - The Guard is witty, different and combines different genres into one. The pacing might not be perfect, the story can hit the cliche road from time to time, however don't let that stop you. The movie brings humor and heart, plus brings a nice commentary on assumptions. It's a fish out of water that will make you smile and question whether, the main character is smart or foolish.