The stormclouds of Edinburgh loomed overhead as I made myself to the Festival Theatre, where the opening night film was starting. Fortunately I made it before getting too drenched. The theatre was full to capacity and after a brief introduction by John Michael McDonagh, the director of The Guard (who apologised for not insulting the Scots as much as everyone else in the film) the plush red velvet curtain was raised and we were off.
The Guard (Irl/UK) (imdb)
Gerry Boyle (Brendan Gleeson, in a role he was born for) has a comfortable job, his many years of experience has turned his policing of the local village into a continuous lazy afternoon asleep at the wheel of his car. Petty crooks either end up cancelling themselves out, or doing stuff not worth waking up for.
But things get unacceptable when a gang of high-stakes drug-dealers come onto the scene and start using the village and its port for their logistics, while at the same time two new law enforcers start to push Boyle's nose out of joint - the wet behind the ears Sgt Aidan McBride, and straight-laced FBI agent Wendell Everett, (played by Don Cheadle - not best known for his comedy parts) - who both question Boyle's style and attitude as the psychotic and philosophical drug dealers get uncomfortably close.
In Bruges was directed by McDonagh's brother, Martin, and there is much to connect the two films, although The Guard is definitely more laugh-out-loud funny than it's more serious cousin. Gleeson who stars in both is wonderfully matter-of-fact in his casual racism and ignorance, law breaking and nicking the odd firearm, but is also given a softer edge of a man past his prime who deep down wants to do the right thing. It's massively sweary, a little bit shocking and is devillishly funny stuff that got the audience laughing pretty much constantly. (Also look out for Pat Shortt - Father Ted's Tom, doing his recognisable gurn.) 8/10