The Guard Brendan Gleeson is at his superb, sweary best in this low-key cops 'n 'robbers, dark comedy set deep in the wild west of Ireland. A group of international drug smugglers are trying to land a boat full of merchandise, right under the nose of the FBI and local police, most of whom have been paid off. Can one stubborn, old school Irish copper stand in their way? It is rare these days for a film to be given an 18 certificate (uk) largely for its use of language but here Gleeson crackles and spits out the witty dialogue and doesn't seem to care about putting a few noses out of joint. It's all about the banter. It is testament to the script and great central performances by Gleeson and Don Cheadle that such a basic idea reaches a satisfying ending and has us caring about the characters despite their obvious lack of likeability. The final, wild west shoot-out is not taken too far as sometimes happens and the last scene leaves you with a smile on your face. The stark setting and characters bristle with energy and the overall feel of the film is one of friendship and redemption. Pleasing, gritty and full of dirty charm.
7.5 out of 10
18 cert (uk)2011.