Boasting one of the more unlikely on-screen
pairings of recent memory, The Guard is an odd couple buddy cop
comedy of the highest calibre. The most successful independent Irish
film ever in terms of box office receipts, according to the hallowed
source that is Wikipedia, the film sees chameleonic Emerald Isle star
Brendan Gleeson (of Braveheart, In Bruges and Harry Potter
fame) starring as quite possibly the most curmudgeonly small-town police
officer of all time. While investigating the crimes of a possible
serial killer, in between indulging in world-weary tirades and insulting
all those around him, he’s forced to interact with an FBI agent sent to
Ireland in order to assist with the case (Don Cheadle, Hotel Rwanda,
Iron Man 2).
Together the pair form an unlikely alliance
of sorts, and the end result is one of the most brilliant and hilarious
black comedies of the century. Admittedly we’re only 12 years into said
century, but this shouldn’t detract from the film in the slightest.
Unanimously acclaimed by audiences and critics alike, The Guard
is a masterwork of sly wit and fast-paced action. The veteran Gleeson
commands the screen with apparent ease, relishing his role as unorthodox
anti-hero and playing skilfully off his equally accomplished American
counterpart. The end result is smart, self-aware and endlessly funny, a
fact made all the more remarkable considering it’s the feature-length
debut from writer/director John Michael McDonagh. Heartily recommended,
to be sure.
Paramount and Transmission Films have done
a top-notch job on the home media release of The Guard, and
bolstering the film itself are a host of truly worthwhile bonus
features. These include an Audio Commentary with McDonagh, Gleeson and
Cheadle; a Behind the Scenes Featurette (18:30); no less than 25 minutes
of Deleted and Extended Scenes; several minutes of Outtakes and
McDonagh’s 2000 short film Second Death.