The Guard (2011)
Directed by John Michael McDonagh
“Fargo” comes to rural Ireland in “The Guard,” the newest original (but somehow familiar) charming comedy from writer/director John Michael McDonagh. When an obnoxious Irish cop (Brendan Gleeson) teams up with a high-strung FBI agent (Don Cheadle) to bust a multi-million-dollar cocaine ring (and solve a murder or two along the way), hilarity ensues.
A Golden Globe-nominated turn from Gleeson is the plastic wrap that keeps this story fresh. His amusing accent (though it’s not like the Dublin-born fellah had to fake it) and ardent jests with Cheadle take the usually-hollow buddy cop film to the next level. Writer/director McDonagh gives the audience an enigmatic puzzle to solve by hiding the mystery from us, though we can clearly see the gears moving in Gleeson’s head. What it creates is a clever, slow-burning suspense leading up to the heartfelt and climactic ending. “The Guard” presents the perfect blend of spunk and spark, witty and cunning but also sincere. It takes crime convention and throws in a wrench, openly mocking the genre it aims to be. With the help of Gleeson and Cheadle, “The Guard” is pure entertainment!