"“Guard” Your Ears and Conscience"
What You Need To Know:
Viewers might appreciate this well-acted, clever, funny crime thriller that provides twists all the way to the end, but THE GUARD draws much of its humor from the celebration of illicit behavior, including prostitution and drug use. Also, much of its spicy dialogue relies far too much on easy, frequent profanities and obscenities. Thus, viewers will have to “guard” their minds and ears from THE GUARD’s nonstop, excessive foul language and parade of corrupt behavior.
(PaPaPa, B, H, Ho, LLL, VV, SS, N, AA, DDD, MMM) Very strong pagan, amoral, anything-goes worldview in a police comedy-mystery in which a highly corrupt Irish cop is kept in check only slightly by the presence of a straight-laced, African-American FBI agent as they try to battle an international drug-smuggling ring, with some moral elements, humanist elements and homosexual references; pervasive foul language throughout, with more than 100 obscenities and profanities; occasional strong, somewhat graphic violence includes murder investigation, a big climactic shootout between the cops and the criminals that leads to a boat being set aflame while apparently loaded with money, and shocking car accident intended for comedy kills a few teenagers instantly in opening scene as they drive while high on drugs; strong sexual content includes Irish cop shown hiring hookers and starting to have a ménage a trois; upper male nudity and women in very racy lingerie; casual alcohol use and title character is often drunk; smoking and extreme drug references include plot involves catching drug smugglers, teenagers drive while high and kill themselves in an accident, and title character, an Irish cop, takes drugs as well, and he’s seen grabbing a tab of Ecstasy off one of the dead teenagers while supervising the accident scene and popping it nonchalantly in his mouth; lying, corrupt Irish policeman bends countless police procedural rules and threatens or cajoles everyone around him to offer up information or otherwise comply with his investigations, all the while scoffing at the complaints that the rules-following FBI agent makes about his behavior, stealing drug money.
THE GUARD is a dark crime comedy about a corrupt Irish policeman named Sergeant Gerry Boyle (played by Brendan Gleeson) and a straight-laced, African-American FBI agent named Wendell Everett (played by Don Cheadle). Boyle and Everett team up to take down an international drug-smuggling gang whose most outrageous recent activities have occurred in a small Irish town. Boyle has been in charge of the town for so long, with little or no accountability, that he runs roughshod over the laws and most of the ethics of his profession. Everett, meanwhile, has little patience or respect for Boyle’s tactics.
[SPOILERS FOLLOW] As they follow the trail of a massive amount of money and drugs that have gone missing near the town, Boyle’s usual police partner disappears, and Boyle discovers his usual hooker is trying to scare him off the trail of all the wrongdoing. Ultimately, Boyle is tempted with bribes from the traffickers. He decides he has to do something right for once, however, so he lures them into a final, guns-blazing showdown. Yet even here, as he appears to be dead from an explosion that sets a boat packed with illicit money aflame, the viewer is left wondering whether Boyle has pulled off his biggest scam yet as it’s unclear whether he ever actually died, or in fact managed to escape with the ill-gotten fortune in drug money.
THE GUARD is definitely clever and rather unique, with its use of a seemingly bucolic small Irish town as a backdrop for insidious criminal endeavors. Cheadle and Gleeson play off each other in highly amusing fashion as well. They put a fresh spin on the timeworn, clichéd genre of black-white buddy-cop movies. Also, the use of unusual classic oldies mixed with wildly inventive instrumental rock by the band Calexico adds to the movie’s feel of a Tarantino-style crime comedy.
A very few moviegoers might appreciate a mystery that actually twists all the way to the end, but THE GUARD draws much of its humor from the celebration of illicit behavior, including prostitution and drug use. Also, much of its spicy dialogue relies far too much on easy profanities and obscenities. Overall, beware to “guard” your mind and ears from the nonstop, excessive foul language and parade of corrupt behavior.