Review – The Guard

Dark comedy is a tricky business that can divide an audience. Are you laughing at the characters or with them? Laughing with them implies you are just as depraved as they are. Laughing at them suggests you either feel sorry for them, or are left with a feeling of awkwardness that results in laughter. It doesn’t matter which side of the fence you’re on because ‘The Guard’ will let you indulge in both.

Sargent Gerry Boyle (Brendan Gleeson) is an unconventional policeman who patrols the streets of a small Irish town. An international drug smuggling ring is planning to use the town to offload a large shipment. FBI Agent Everett (Don Cheadle) arrives and teams up with Boyle to shut it down.

Sitting through ‘The Guard’ was like torture – it was painfully unfunny. I can understand why audiences may get a kick out of it, but I didn’t find any of humour entertaining, in particular the heavy emphasis on racist jokes. I very rarely get offended, and if it’s the filmmaker’s goal – mission accomplished. It’s a shame they had to stoop so low and I won’t buy the films small status as an excuse.

Being an Irish film, there is an insane amount of swearing, which is warranted considering it’s something the country is famous for. Rather than being used effectively, though, it’s just constant and you get the feeling that, if they slapped a swear jar on the film, the profits could have bailed the United States out of debt.

The pacing is as slow as a turtle with the Guinness factory strapped to its back, and I don’t know how the director convinced top actors Gleeson, Cheadle and Mark Strong to appear –did they run over his dog while going for a joyride together?

Throughout ‘The Guard’ attempts are made to replicate the films of director Guy Ritchie, such as ‘Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’ and ‘Snatch’. For example, the criminals wax lyrical about menial things while breaking the law. The writing isn’t clever enough to have impact and is mostly meaningless.

‘The Guard’ is a bleak film, laugh at your own risk.


‘The Guard’ is now showing.


The Popcorn Junkie