The Guard

The Guard

John Michael McDonagh (2011)

15 Certificate


Our Score
Brendan Gleeson excels as an antihero in this caustic buddy-cop drama set in the wild west of Ireland. He's foul-mouthed police sergeant Gerry Boyle, who thinks nothing of swallowing the odd dodgy pill lifted from a crash victim's pocket, or taking a day off to visit prostitutes. But a murder, a drug-smuggling ring and the arrival of strait-laced FBI agent Wendell Everett (Don Cheadle) disrupts his easy life. It's sharply written and directed by John Michael McDonagh (and nicely photographed in drizzly greys and greens) but this is really Gleeson's show. Though in many ways he's a dreadful policeman, he does gradually reveal a robust moral code and some deeper humanity in touching scenes with his dying mother (Fionnula Flanagan). "I don't know if you're really smart or really stupid," Everett remarks at one point; an apt summary of a fascinating, darkly funny character who keeps everyone guessing to the very end, and beyond.


A laidback Irish policeman has a sharp mind for detective work, but a less than dedicated attitude to enforcing the law. His simple life is disrupted when he is forced to work with an uptight FBI agent in pursuit of an international drug-smuggling operation. Comedy thriller, with Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle and Mark Strong.

Cast & Crew

Sergeant Gerry Boyle Brendan Gleeson
FBI Agent Wendell Everett Don Cheadle
Francis Sheehy-Skeffington Liam Cunningham
Liam O'Leary David Wilmot
Garda Aidan McBride Rory Keenan
Clive Cornell Mark Strong
Eileen Boyle Fionnula Flanagan
Aoife O'Carroll Dominique McElligott
Sinead Mulligan Sarah Greene
Gabriela McBride Katarina Cas
Director John Michael McDonagh
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Optimum ReleasingGuidance: Violence, swearing, sexual references, drug abuse. Available on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 19 Aug 2011
Drama Comedy