August 30, 2011

The Guard - 2011

Director: John Michael McDonagh
Writer: John Michael McDonagh
Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle, Mark Strong

An unorthodox small-town Irish policeman (Gleeson) is forced to work with a visiting FBI agent (Cheadle) to break up a cocaine-smuggling ring valued at half a billion dollars.

Just when you thought Cop Out killed off the "two cops with clashing personalities/races" genre, this movie comes along to prove it's thriving just as it ever was. The film shares a lot tonally with that of McDonagh's brother Martin's film In Bruges, as well as lead actor Gleeson. His devil-may-care attitude and foul mouth couldn't be further from his role in the Harry Potter series, but there's not a moment where he fails to entertain, especially in scenes alongside Cheadle's more traditional law enforcer. Mark Strong plays yet another stellar villain (following his performances in Sherlock Holmes, Kick-Ass, and Green Lantern)--the clear intellectual of the bunch, yet nowhere close to being likeable. Despite the predictable climax and open-ended denoument, John proves he can take audiences on a tour of Europe just as invigorating as his brother Martin, with nary a thought to old-timey notions like political correctness. A

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