The Guard | Film | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

The Guard

Brendan Gleeson shines as a bad cop in an offbeat Irish gangster movie.

click to enlarge Fat old fart: Brendan Gleeson
Fat old fart: Brendan Gleeson

The Irish West Country is a sea of green studded with boulders, sheep and not much else. Sgt. Gerry Boyle (Brendan Gleeson), a lonely Galway Garda, knows this as he gazes out into the gray morning in The Guard's opening scene. He then drops a tab of acid and says, "What a beautiful fucking day." Gleeson is best known as Mad-Eye Moody in the Harry Potter movies or as Monk McGinn, who beats people to death with a shillelagh in Gangs of New York. Slightly more serious than Mad-Eye and slightly less bloodthirsty than McGinn, Boyle is a fat old fart who seems content with his life of substance abuse and prostitutes, until an FBI agent (Don Cheadle) heralds the arrival of drug traffickers. The next 90 minutes offer a steady stream of smugglers arguing about Bertrand Russell, pithy dialogue between Gleeson and Cheadle, rampant unprofessional behavior and old Irish men telling each other "Go fook yourself." A gangster movie at heart, director John Michael McDonagh's The Guard stands out by fulfilling and stretching the tropes of its genre, providing rounded, dynamic characters who can switch from painfully funny to painfully tender on a dime. Manor.

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