'The Guard' review: Gleefully, hilariously profane and proud of it

Crime, Law and JusticeCrimeMoviesEntertainmentCrime (genre)Mark StrongBrendan Gleeson

*** (out of four)

Look up “Taking the piss” in an urban dictionary and you’ll probably see a picture of Sergeant Boyle (Brendan Gleeson), a cop who’s neither by the book nor full-on corrupt. He’s also a pain in the butt to FBI agent Everett (Don Cheadle), who comes to Ireland to investigate a drug trafficking operation’s movement of $500 million in cocaine—an emphasis on “street value” that Boyle thinks is crap.

The buzz: You want a movie with attitude? “The Guard” has it to spare thanks to the script by director John Michael McDonagh, brother of “In Bruges” writer/director Martin McDonagh. And if you need an actor to play a salty Irishman who can still convincingly demonstrate love for his dying mother as he’s busting her balls, Gleeson’s definitely your guy.

The verdict: “The Guard” gains reality points for unfolding at the slow pace of crime and police work, but that’s also why the movie never fully takes off. Doesn’t matter. Boyle’s a badass fountain of snappy lines (one favorite, as he walks into the station: “Big map. People pointing. Must be important.”). “The Guard” does nothing if not prove that a crime flick usually succeeds when led by two great actors playing strong characters. Speaking of strong, though; the omnipresent Mark Strong (“The Green Lantern,” “The Eagle,” “The Way Back,” “Robin Hood,” “Kick-Ass,” “Sherlock Holmes”) turns up as one of the villains, and he’s the only cast member without comic timing. Time for a name change, sir.

Did you know? Boyle tells Everett that all babies look the same unless they’re ugly. I don’t think that’s true, but even if it is, some things ya just don’t say to a guy who just had a kid.

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Fridays at 7 a.m. on WCIU, the U

mpais@tribune.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
Crime, Law and JusticeCrimeMoviesEntertainmentCrime (genre)Mark StrongBrendan Gleeson
  • Shrug-worthy new movies
    Shrug-worthy new movies

    'Rudderless,' 'Keep on Keepin' On,' 'St. Vincent,' 'Pride,' 'The Equalizer,' 'Tracks,' 'This is Where I Leave You,' 'The Maze Runner,' 'The Skeleton Twins,' 'The Homestretch,'...

  • Best new movies
    Best new movies

    Reviews of recent favorites like 'Birdman,' 'Listen Up Philip,' 'Dear White People,' 'Whiplash,' 'Fury,' 'The Good Lie,' 'Dead Snow: Red vs. Dead,' 'Kill the Messenger,' 'Gone Girl,' 'Jimi: All is...

  • Worst new movies
    Worst new movies

    The recent awfulness we've seen, like 'Ouija,' '23 Blast,' 'Stonehearst Asylum,' 'The Best of Me,' 'The Judge,' zero-star 'Left Behind,' 'Men, Women and Children,' 'The Last of Robin Hood,' 'The...

  • Hot Hollywood interviews
    Hot Hollywood interviews

    The most memorable quotes from our latest movie Q&As, including Jason Schwartzman, J.K. Simmons, Damien Chazelle, Ger Duany/Emmanuel Jal, Jocelyn DeBoer/Ingrid Haas, Martin Starr, Dan Stevens, Mark Duplass/Charlie McDowell, Brenton Thwaites/Odeya Rush, Jeff Bridges, Matt Walsh, Michael...

  • Good movies to rent now
    Good movies to rent now

    See what recent DVD releases are worth your time and money. Don't rent? Check out the newest movies to stream here. Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page. 

Comments
Loading