Creative genius runs in the McDonagh family. Martin McDonagh, “In Bruges” and now brother Michael give unconventional slants and interpretations on crime, criminals and law enforcement. The pairing of Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, as intelligent hired assassins, hiding “In Bruges” kept audiences on a titillating tightrope of anticipation and suspense for the entirety of the film.
“The Guard” serves up another inimitable duo, an odd combination of Irish Sgt. Gerry Boyle (Brendan Gleeson) and FBI agent, Wendell Everett (Don Cheadle), questing the capture of a half -billion dollars worth of cocaine plus the amoral killers and their equally corrupt accomplices. The bibulous Gerry and the salubrious Wendell match wits, skills and caustic barbs until a begrudging respect and friendship evolves from their constant verbal sparing.
Gleeson and Cheadle, at the pinnacle of their acting efficacy, endow their characters with an irrefutable dynamic potency, resulting in flawless performances by these sage, veteran actors.
Most intriguing in McDonagh films are the psyche and minds of the criminals; they analyze these fractured intellects, at times brilliant but warped, lost in moral turpitude but with a bolt of dignity. Mark Strong is “Clive” an erudite but lethal menace; interesting combination of literature, callousness, mendaciousness, more gray than black. The viewer is left questioning the catalyst for his and his cohorts life choices.
At times steely concentration is required to understand the dialect (subtitles were used in one instance), but worth the energy.
Nothing interrupts the viewer from thinking in “The Guard”: no digitally- generated distractions; experiencing the beaches and pounding ferocity of the waves, without manipulation; seeing incendiary devices and the effectiveness of intense conflagration, gimmick less, savagely real. Emphasizing the power of subtle, stunning filmmaking.
FOUR STARS!!!! (Out of Five)