The Guard review

Director/writer John Michael McDonagh, brother of In Bruges director Martin McDonagh, makes his debut with this stylish and instantly likable tale of a brash, slightly racist-but-all-in-good-fun Irish cop (Brendan Gleeson) who takes on a group of international drug smugglers.  The film has an authentically Irish feel that is somewhat hampered by the appearance of Don Cheadle as a visiting FBI agent, but his exchanges with Gleeson are great fun for the most part.  The smugglers are a chatty group of British/Irishmen that include the always enjoyable Mark Strong (Green Lantern) as a philosophical/self-reflective heavy.  McDonagh creates an old-fashioned outlaw atmosphere complete with bold red titles and a spaghetti western-like score and while the film doesn’t reach the deliriously giddy heights of his brother’s debut, The Guard certainly takes its place alongside modern crime film classics like Sexy Beast and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

The Guard opens today at the Ritz Five.

Official site.

Author: Eric Bresler

Eric is the Founder/Site Editor of whose additional activities are numerous: Director/Curator of the Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art (PhilaMOCA), founder of Tokyo No Records, the brain behind Video Pirates, and active local film programmer including the Unknown Japan screening series. He’s served as a TLA Video Manager, Philadelphia Film Society Managing Director, and Adjunct Professor in Cinema Studies at Drexel University. He is shy and modest. Email Eric.

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