The Guard: Buddy Cop movies, Irish style

Sergeant Gerry Boyle (Brendan Gleeson) is not your usual cop. In the first scene of the movie, we watch as he impassively watches a bunch of kids drive past and crash, and then loots their dead bodies for ecstasy tablets. However, he does have a good nose for criminal work, realizing there's something odd about the supposedly occult murder of a vacationer.

When FBI agent Wendell Everett (Don Cheadle) comes to the Connemara region on the trail of a quartet of drug traffickers (including the murdered vacationer) and Boyle's partner disappears, Boyle and Everett get thrown together, trying to track down the traffickers while having to deal with corrupt cops, inhospitable locals, a pair of prositutes, a weird kid on a bicycle. and a cache of IRA guns. Whether they can catch the criminals depends on how well the very by-the-book Everett and the very...not Boyle can work together.

Brendan Gleeson's Gerry Boyle is amazing. While he can be a bit of a douche just to be a douche, it becomes clear early on that he isn't a total jerk, particularly when he agrees to help the wife of his murdered partner find out what happened to him. I also liked how his misbehavior is not because he's the typical cop-on-the-edge type, but instead because he just doesn't seem to give a shit about the regulations and laws that prevent him from taking drugs and sleeping with prositutes. Finally, it is delightful for his various opponents to undervalue his intelligence and detective abilities, allowing them to severely underestimate what this guy is capable of (it's a lot).

I also liked how Cheadle's Wendell is not a stick in the mud, but instead a sensible law-enforcement officer who is rather puzzled by his forced partner telling him about sleeping with prostitutes and snorting coke. Cheadle is able to give his role humanity, as he gets frustrated, angry, and amused by Boyle's complete lack of professionalism which somehow seems to be effective.

I also quite enjoyed the three villains, played by David Wilmot, Mark Strong and Liam Cunningham. When we first meet them, they're discussing their favorite philosophers--not particularly intelligently, but it shows that they're not just dumb thugs. All throughout the movie they manage to be clearly the bad guys while never going overboard into cardboard villainy. Strong is especially awesome, mixing clear contempt for everyone else with an oddly charming wit.

All in all, this film mixes a weird but awesome sense of humor with a great crime story to make one of the best buddy cop movies I've seen in a while. It's currently in theaters, so you should go and see if you can find it somewhere, because it is worth it.


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