Don Cheadle & Brendan Gleeson as Good Cop Bad Cop in The Guard
by Ethan Anderton
October 29, 2009
Many times when a film based in the world of a police department, FBI agency or other law enforcement organization comes along, there's the standard confrontation between an unconventional, off-the-leash lawman clashing with a by-the-book, oh so serious counterpart. While this has become a dishearteningly predictable element of crime based films, what really makes or breaks films like this is the casting. In this case, I might be willing to allow cliche characters in favor of great casting as Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle have been cast as unlikely partners in director John Michael McDonagh's new film The Guard.
Gleeson plays Sergeant Gerry Boyle, a small-town Irish cop with a confrontational personality, a subversive sense of humor, a dying mother, a fondness for prostitutes, and absolutely no interest whatsoever in the international cocaine-smuggling ring that has brought straight-laced FBI agent Wendell Everett (Cheadle) to his door. However, mocking and undermining Everett's uptight demeanor soon takes a backseat to urgency when Boyle finds the case becoming a little more personal as his enthusiastic new partner McBride disappears, his favorite hooker attempts to blackmail him, the drug-traffickers themselves try to buy him off like the rest of the corrupt police force. With Everett left as the only person he can trust, the stage is set for this unlikely team to deliver some justice.
The film is shooting in Ireland and also includes Mark Strong (Sherlock Holmes), Liam Cunningham (The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor), Fionnuala Flanagan ("Lost"), David Wilmot (King Arthur), and Rory Keenan (Ella Enchanted). After Gleeson made a huge splash in the hilariously dark hitman comedy In Bruges, I'm ready to see a lot more from him. As for Cheadle, he's really proven himself to be quite a diverse actor from his comedic work in the Ocean's 11 franchise, to some great dramatic work in films like Hotel Rwanda and Talk to Me. This is a pairing I'll be looking forward to despite such cliche story elements.