The Guard | Chicago Reader

The Guard

Brendan Gleeson, as beefily Irish an actor as anyone since Victor McLaglen, is always believable and frequently hilarious as a West Country cop recruited by an American FBI agent (Don Cheadle) to go after some local Irish drug smugglers. Spewing bellicose cynicism and erupting with outlandish political incorrectness, Gleeson makes the movie worthwhile and fun, in spite of its occasional overuse of Leone-Morricone spaghetti-western riffs. It's one of Gleeson's strongest comic performances, and the rest of the actors—especially Cheadle, Fionnula Flanagan as Gleeson's dying mother, and Mark Strong as the smuggler/heavy—are fine as well. The writer-director is John Michael McDonagh, whose brother, playwright-turned-filmmaker Martin McDonagh, gave Gleeson one of his best dramatic roles with In Bruges.



  • John Michael McDonagh


  • Brendan Gleeson
  • Don Cheadle
  • Liam Cunningham
  • David Wilmot
  • Rory Keenan
  • Mark Strong
  • Fionnula Flanagan
  • Dominique McElligott
  • Sarah Greene
  • Katarina Cas


  • Chris Clark
  • Flora Fernandez-Marengo
  • Ed Guiney
  • Andrew Lowe
  • Martin McDonagh
  • Don Cheadle
  • Paul Brett
  • Ralph Kamp
  • Lenore Zerman
  • Tim Smith
  • David Nash

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