The Guard

The Guard is a quirky Irish film starring Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle.
The plot is fairly straightforward, starting with a murder in a small town in the west of Ireland.  Gerry Doyle (Gleeson) is the local Sergeant of the Garda.
Enter the FBI and Doyle’s murder turns into an anti-drug smuggling operation.
Wendell Everett (Cheadle) is after a shipment of drugs, scheduled to enter the western seaboard of Ireland, but he requires the help of the local Garda to intercept the shipment and capture the smugglers.  He ends up with Gerry, and he is anything but conventional.

Gerry has pressing issues of his own.  His mother, played by the wonderful Fionnula Flanagan, is terminally ill.  She seems as unconventional as he is, with a wicked sense of humour.  Their talks and interactions will come back to you at the end of the film.

There are some wonderful one liners and mini-monologues throughout the film.  Mark Strong playing one of the smugglers, Clive, has a classic moment when speaking to a couple of Garda.  I would love to share details of it, but it would be full of spoilers.  Suffice to say it made me laugh out loud.  There were other similar moments scattered throughout.

The film was an odd mix of humour and coldness.  The little hints of what is to come stack up throughout the movie.  Doyle’s swimming in  the ocean, his mother asking him about Russian authors, the stashed IRA guns.  All sound unrelated, but come the final scenes and they all tie together.

At times I did wonder where it was all going and at least one of Doyle’s unconventional penchants was ever so skin-crawly.  Well, it gave me the creeps.  Interestingly it continued to bring into question his morals and ethics, as had other comments and behaviours before it.

You do wonder for a good part of the movie, as Everett does at one stage, if Doyle is completely stupid or completely brilliant.  And you do wonder how it will all play itself out in the end.  Is he self-serving, or would he do the ‘right’ thing?

I know what I came out thinking Gerry Doyle was by the end.  I wonder what you’d say.

If Brendan Gleeson looks familiar to you, but you cannot place him, perhaps you might think Harry Potter and more particularly – Mad Eye Moody.  Or perhaps In Bruges is more your thing.   He is a great actor and I enjoyed his deadpan portrayal of Gerry Doyle in this film.

If quirky and offbeat is your thing, I think you’d probably enjoy this.

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