Proving that they have a sense of humor, the folks at LA Film Fest 2011 programmed the very smart, sharp and sassy new Sony Pictures Classics flick "The Guard" starring Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle in their Summer Showcase and a fun time was indeed had by all.  Not only did filmgoers get a chance to catch the flick early, but were then also treated to a little Q&A fun afterwards via writer/director John Michael McDonagh and lead actor Brendan Gleeson.  Check out my review of the film below!




   Title: "The Guard"

   Stars: 4

   Genre: Comedy, Drama, Action

   Cast: Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle, Mark Strong

   Director: John Michael McDonagh

   Running Time: 96 minutes

   Release Company: Sony Pictures Classics






Movies with unsavory lead characters that spout bad language and racist slurs are usually done in serious dramatic fashion.  What’s so unique about the unruly yet engaging Irish policeman played by Brendan Gleeson in this flick is how he actually takes all of the above elements to an unheard of humorous level – and succeeds.

Gleeson portrays unorthodox Sergeant Gerry Boyle, a surly, burly, bigoted bastard who commits just as many crimes as he investigates.  Small things like taking drugs off accident victims, messing with crime scenes as a gag and giving himself a present of two gorgeous call girls on his day off.  Boyle ends up crossing paths with African American FBI Agent Wendell Everette (Don Cheadle) involving a case of major drug trafficking and the two end up being forced to team up to solve the case.

It may sound like unfunny trite, but the mix of a great script with two amazing actors makes The Guard a winner.  Coming from a place of sweet ignorance rather then hate, Gleeson’s racist Boyle is a walking goofy enigma and it contrasts perfectly with humorless straight man Cheadle.  (Think Lethal Weapon for the clever crowd!)  The witty script and direction via John Michael McDonagh even goes further by exploring what really makes a man a man and when both characters are forced to examine what they truly believe in it makes for more than just typical surface fluff.  Of course the acting prowess of both Gleeson (who relishes every moment of innocent debauchery!) and Cheadle (his suits are classic character stuff!) elevates The Guard on every level and takes what could have possibly been offensive and makes it a pleasure.

I will admit that the bad guys of The Guard may be a tad on the cardboard cutout side (Mark Strong from Kick Ass is once again playing a meatheaded heavy!), but thankfully they’re merely a side dish to a main meal that really makes eager taste buds stand at attention.  Surprise, surprise - good actors + good script = good movie!  (Who would have thought it?!)