Regrettable, cliché-ridden tale is entirely forgettable
Don’t you just love the Irish? They’re cultured, funny, nihilistic and big-hearted. They can be naughty, but they love their mammies and they are always up for the craic. OK let’s not beat about the Gaelic bush here, The Guard, written directed by John Michael McDonagh (brother of In Bruges’ Martin) is a mighty poteen bowl of cliché piss – the only thing that’s missing are leprechauns.
Sgt Gerry Boyle (Brendan Gleeson) is a mildly corrupt and hugely taciturn (but confrontational when he feels fit) police officer in rural Galway. His usual routine of drinking and visiting prostitutes is interrupted when uptight FBI Agent Wendell Everett (Don Cheadle) arrives in town on the trail of international drug dealers led by philosophy spouting villain Francis Sheehy (Liam Cunningham). Sheehy’s gang’s murderous trail means the Boyle and Everett must work together.
Though he has a problem with tone, McDonagh certainly seems to have the cojones to one day be a great screenwriter and The Guard contains enough decent funny lines (mostly for Gleeson) and comic set-ups to keep it mildly diverting. Unfortunately it also seems to have been been plotted, filmed and edited by an eight-year-old with ADHD. So insubstantial, ramshackle and random is the final narrative that great actors like Cunningham and Mark Strong are left with nothing to do until the regrettable Western parody-style showdown that brings this forgettable tale to its sorry conclusion.
Selected release from Fri 19 Aug.