Friday, 20 January 2012

The Guard

Gerry Boyle the Policeman.

Ireland would certainly have not been able to produce such welcome additions to cinema without the funding they receive from the indie-focused Irish Film Board. To name but three of the recent most successful examples to come out of the Emerald Isle would have to include the award winning In Bruges (2008), an hilarious movie that is made even funnier with the banter between the two main characters Ray and Ken (Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson). This is the story of two hit men sent to Bruges to await further instructions after a contract killing goes horribly wrong. Also Garage (2007) directed by Lenny Abrahamson and shot in Southern Ireland. Josie is a lonely petrol station attendant who’s hapless searches for intimacy over the cause of one summer sees his little niche threatened and his life changed forever. The Irish comedian, singer and writer Pat Shortt plays Josie a lonely but good-natured caretaker of the crumbling garage of the title. This is an extraordinary powerful film with a great funny/sad performance from the lead.

Gerry Boyle the Ladies Man.
Gerry Boyle the Diplomat.
 ‘Actor friendly, writer led, bristling with attitude and bloody funny to boot’ is how Trevor Johnston described the most successful independent Irish film to be shown in Ireland, taking more money in box office receipts than Ken Loach’s The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006) which previously held the record. The Guard (2011), written and directed by John Michael McDonagh, the brother of playwright, screenwriter and director Martin McDonagh who was responsible for In Bruges, tells the story of Sergeant Gerry Boyle (Brendan Gleeson) a small-town Irish policeman with a confrontational personality, a subversive sense of humour, a dying mother, a penchant for ladies of pleasure, and absolutely no interest whatsoever in the international cocaine smuggling ring that has brought an FBI agent, Wendell Everett (Don Cheadle) to his quite backwater. However when his over enthusiastic new partner disappears, his favourite hooker attempts to blackmail him and the drug traffickers try to buy him off, the good Sergeant decides he had better take a more personal interest.

A real laugh out loud, politically incorrect comedy thriller with a ‘one-liner’ heaven of a script from McDonagh. Brendan Gleeson is on fine form, executing wisecracks with a great deal of panache and hilarity, the big man was greatly deserving of his Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor. A modern day spaghetti western set in Connemara, which even includes a Morriconeesque soundtrack to boot. 

The Irish Film Board!

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