Top 365 Films – #259 – The Guard (2011)

Top 365 Films - The GuardDIRECTED BY: John Michael McDonagh

STARRING: Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle, Rory Kennan, Fionnula Flannigan, Owen Sharpe, Katarina Cas, Sarah Greene, Dominique McElligott, David Wilmot, Mark Strong and Liam Cunningham


EARNED (Worldwide): $19.5m

AWARDS: None (Golden Globe Nomination for Best Actor in Musical/Comedy and BAFTA Nomination for Best Original Screenplay)



An unorthodox Irish policeman with a confrontational personality is partnered with an up-tight F.B.I. agent to investigate an international drug-smuggling ring.


The Guard places us in a small town in Galway, Ireland, following Sergeant Gerry Boyle who happens to a have a confrontational personality and subversive sense of humour whose casual job ethic is turned on its head as he’s teamed up with FBI agent Wendell Everett in tracking down a group of Irish drug traffickers.


The Guard is a dark comedy in which it primarily gives Brendan Gleeson a role to shine in like he normally does playing ignorant and tactless Sergeant Gerry Boyle, who comes out with some outrageous statements, normally in the presence of FBI Agent Wendell Everett, that the film is on the fine line on whether Boyle is naive in what he is saying or is deliberately trying to wind up as many people around him as possible. The pacing of the film is just as casual as Boyle’s personality, even the shootout is understated in comparison to what you see in Hollywood mainstream today and even the plot of Boyle and his dying mother is not used conveniently in the overall plot as other films would exploit in this scenario. The dialogue is sharp and witty, though there may be a few jokes that go amiss at a cultural perspective. The cast are great in their roles, with Don Cheadle playing it straight as the FBI agent, Mark Strong seems to have fun with the dialogue in the role of one of the drug traffickers as well as Liam Cunningham, clearly having great chemistry in the scenes with Gleeson (this being the fourth film they’ve been in together). Another plus would be the cinematography.


FAVOURITE SCENE: Boyle attends Agent Wendell Everett’s briefing and instantly makes an impression with him and not the nice kind.

FAVOURITE QUOTE: ‘Sergeant Gerry Boyle: Are the lights growing dim?

Liam O’Leary: Don’t mock me.

Sergeant Gerry Boyle: It’s good enough for ya.

Liam O’Leary: There’s so many… so many things I wanted to do.

Sergeant Gerry Boyle: Like what for fuck’s sake? Running with the bulls at Pamplona?’

DID YOU KNOW?: Boyle states that he was 4th in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, in 1500m freestyle swimming. In the end of the movie Everett says that it’s not true, and the photographer kid replies: ‘It’s easy to look up’. In the 1988 Olympics the 4th place in this event was won by an American named Matt Cetlinski. The other contestants mentioned were real: two Germans won the 2nd and 3rd place (Stefan Pfeiffer and Uwe Dassler respectively), while the 1st place was won by the Soviet Vladimir Salnikov.

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