The Guard

[4.0 stars] The Guard (2011) on IMDb

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A clever comedy/crime thriller starring Mad-Eye Moody his own self, Brendan Gleeson. (He was nominated for a Golden Globe for his role; we'll see if Oscar does the same thing.)

It's set in Connemara, out in western Ireland, where the Emerald Isle's bleak rocky shores meet the cold Atlantic, lads. Gleeson plays Gerry Boyle, an unconventional member of the Guard, the local police force. How unconventional? Arriving at the scene of a fatal auto crash, Boyle riffles though the pockets of one of the victims, and consumes the tab of LSD he finds. He frequents prostitutes, drinks heavily, and loves to needle his superiors and co-workers. He is devoted to his mother (Fionnula Flanagan), who is awaiting death in a local hospice.

All in all, not a bad life. Excepting the mom thing, of course. But a team of murderous drug smugglers pick the area to bring in a shipment of cocaine. Pretty soon a body shows up, as does the American FBI, in the person of agent Wendell Everett (Don Cheadle), on the trail of the smugglers. Everett is very much by-the-book, but his investigation is hampered by the fact that the citizenry is totally uninterested in helping with his investigation; either they ignore him, or pretend to be Gaelic-only speakers. He and Boyle become reluctant partners.

Gleeson is hilarious, and has especially great chemistry with Cheadle. If you watch it, it might be a good idea to toggle the subtitles; those Irish accents can be pretty thick.

Without spoilers, I think the guys making the FX series Justified were inspired by one of the scenes here, where a voluble bad guy gets the drop on the hero in his own domicile in Season 3, Episode 1. Not an outright steal, the details differ, but similar enough.

Last Modified 2012-09-24 8:03 AM EST