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The Guard

Submitted by MBergeron on August 18, 2024 – 2:05 amNo Comment

Who knew that redneck cops in small Irish towns know more about Bobbie Gentry and the Tallahatchie Bridge than most Americans? The Guard establishes that fact quite succinctly and also depicts a crooked cop searching through the pockets of a deceased auto accident victim, finding tabs of LSD and dropping same in the film’s first scene. The Guard should be on your must-see list for more reasons than one.

The Guard is a film by John Michael McDonagh. McDonagh is the brother of noted playwright and filmmaker Martin McDonagh who helmed In Bruges. The Guard has some tonic similarity to the black humor of In Bruges. But make no mistake JM McDonagh is a force to be reckoned with. JM takes The Guard to a kind of artistic high that deserves to be seen. The film takes they typical fish-out-of-water scenario and reinvents same. Brendon Gleeson and Don Cheadle star, but the cross-rivalry rivals the snide remark ridden 48 Hours (Nick Notle and Eddie Murphy).

Gleeson’s established as a corrupt yet somehow benevolent police official and an even likeable chap. Okay, so he frequents prostitutes and drinks Guinness like a fish yet he still cares for his mom who’s dying in a hospice, albeit Irish style.

After the first part, the part where we introduce the dire drug gang led by a gaggle of essential actors (Mark Strong, need I say more), Gleeson finds his jurisdiction threatened by an American FBI agent (Don Cheadle) who needs total cooperation in apprehending an international drug cartel. Gleeson is not only on top of thing from the get-go, he interjects his base racism into every conversation. Cheadle plays an ivory-league born-into-privilege character that while at conflict with Gleeson also realizes that they are birds of a feather.

The story escalates at a snail’s pace but then in the sudden conclusion there’s a gunfight that rivals any gunfight in cinema history for action and exposition. You have to go back to L.A. Confidential to see such a glorious gun battle. The Guard will keep your interest all throughout the film and for time afterwards.

- Michael Bergeron

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