The Guard is a 2011 Irish action-comedy film. Starring Brendan Gleeson as Sergeant Gerry Boyle and Don Cheadle as FBI Agent Wendell Everett, it is based in the west of Ireland. When a murder victim turns up, Gerry soon discovers that he was part of a drug smuggling ring. When his rookie partner disappears, Gerry is asked by the man's wife to find out what happened. He then gets embroiled in the dealings of a drug smuggling ring and must crack the case.The directorial debut of John Michael McDonagh. See Martin McDonagh for his brother, writer/director of In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths.
This film provides examples of:
Affably Evil: All three of the drug traffickers are this to a certain extent
Apathetic Citizens: Wendell tries to get information on the villains by canvassing the locals. Nobody seems willing to help, speak English, or even acknowledge him. In desperation, he even asks a horse.
Arc Number: Subverted. O'Leary scrawls the number 5 and a half on the the wall in blood at the murder scene after doing the deed. McBride suggests that it could be a serial killer. Turns out O'Leary was just mad drunk when he did it.
Blackmail: Subverted. Sheehy attempts to blackmail Gerry with photographs of him in a threesome with some prostitutes to keep him from investigating the case further. Gerry simply doesn't care. After Sheehy leaves, Gerry facepalms in frustration. Turns out, he just has brain freeze from his milkshake.
Blood Knight: Cornell is revealed to have a little bit of this: "You kidding me? This is better than fucking Christmas!"
Chekhov's Gun: When Gerry returns the bag of guns to the IRA, a Derringer, a Glock and a Kalashnikov are missing. Turns out, Gerry kept hold of them and keeps the Derringer in his trousers, which he uses to dispatch O'Leary. The other two guns are used in the final shootout.
Chekhov's Skill: Gerry is seen playing a light gun game in the pub and is later seen out swimming. Both play major parts in the climax.
Corrupt Cop: Amazingly, Gerry is the only guard in the film not on the villains' payroll. They try to bribe and blackmail him, but he simply doesn't give a shit.
What makes this even funnier is that Gerry in other respects is probably the most corrupt police officer in his part of Ireland, what with his frequenting of prostitutes, taking of drugs (which in the first scene of the movie we see him stealing from a car accident), drinking on the job and giving a gun cache he finds back to the IRA
Cowboy Cop: Gerry is unconventional in his policing methods. Given that the soundtrack sounds like something out of a western, this trope is pretty much established up from the start.
Special Agent Everett: Y'know, I can't tell if you're really motherfuckin' dumb or really motherfuckin' smart.
Cultured Badass: The villains like to spend car journeys discussing their favourite philosophers and have a fondness for Jazz music.
Gerry's got a bit of this too, being well versed in classic literature.
Deadpan Snarker: Gerry Boyle. It is an Irish movie with the lead played by Brendan Gleeson after all. Wendell also gets in a few good quips
Clive also gets his share of lines: "When I signed up for the part of international drug runner, it didn't say anything about heavy lifting".
Gerry seems to have inherited his snarkiness from his mother.
Defiant to the End: McBride, cornered, refuses to turn around for the drug traffickers, deciding to show them for the cowards they are. They shoot him, then comment on how well he took it. "He was very philosophical about it."
Da Chief: Inspector Stanton is a particularly incompetent version. And corrupt.
Eagleland Osmosis: McBride speaks and acts much like an American cop. Boyle lampshades this.
Gerry: "I'm on it, Sarge." Where does he think he is? Fuckin' Detroit?!
Heroic Neutral: Sums up Gerry to a tee. He just wants to enjoy his day off, and his taking on the drug traffickers is motivated partially by irritation that they killed his partner, partially because a drug trafficking case is just too much boring work
Mistaken Nationality: Gabriella McBride is Croatian. Everybody thinks she's Romanian. Also, the first suspect in the murder case only looks Italian.
My God, You Are Serious: Stanton asks Everett if the term "liquidating" in reference to killing someone is literal. Everett chuckles for a moment, then notices Stanton still staring at him and has a moment to blink before responding in astonishment.
Spiritual Successor: To In Bruges. Completely different movies, but they share the same off-the-wall and gleefully politically incorrect style of humour, as well as Brendan Gleeson in a prominent role. Director-screenwriter John Michael McDonagh is the brother of In Bruges director Martin McDonagh, who was an executive producer on The Guard.
Turn in Your Badge: Subverted. Stanton tells Gerry he can consider himself under suspension for a variety of snarky remarks at a briefing. Gerry simply tells him that he won't in brazen fashion and then proceeds to tell him that one of the men he's looking for is already dead.
Vitriolic Best Buds: Gerry and Wendell, mostly due to Gerry's constant racist remarks. Though, he may be just trying to get a rise out of him.
It's more likely the racist remarks are due to the fact that casual racism is very common in Ireland, with no offense meant behind it.
Wicked Cultured: When we first meet the villains, they're quoting the philosophy of Nietzsche.