Gleason’s Guard holds it together in tale of Ireland

Sergeant Gerry Boyle (Brendan Gleeson)  in The Guard
Sergeant Gerry Boyle (Brendan Gleeson) in The Guard

THE debut film by John Michael McDonagh bears some of the hallmarks of big brother Martin’s hit In Bruges, including one of its stars Brendan Gleason, along with casual violence and loquacious, philosophising villains. But The Guard (Cert 15) shows many other influences as well.

Gleason is Irish rural cop Sgt Gerry Boyle, whose modus operandi is to do as little as possible so as not to interfere with the pleasures in life such as pints of Guinness and two-in-a-bed whores.

This includes not hurrying to investigate the sudden disappearance of his new colleague from Dublin soon after the discovery of a murder.

When Boyle is summoned to meet FBI agent Wendell Everett (Don Cheadle), who is in Ireland to intercept a major drugs shipment, he recognises the dead man as one of the narcotics gang.

So he is forced to entertain the American on his patch, setting up one of those familiar fish-out-of-water, chalk-and-cheese double acts – the simple Irishman stringing along the sophisticated American

“I can’t tell whether you are (expletive-deleted) dumb or (expletive-deleted) smart,” puzzles Everett.

The dialogue crackles with cultural references, with the trio of baddies (Liam Cunningham, Mark Strong and David Wilmot) able to quote Nietzsche or debate the lyrics of Ode to Billy Jo.

The storyline is pretty perfunctory (it’s hard to care much about the climactic shoot-out) and few of the incidentals are very original, but The Guard just about gets away with it thanks to its way with words and the crumpled, almost melancholic performance of Gleason at the heart of it all.

Based on the graphic novel by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, Cowboys & Aliens (Cert 12A) – as its title suggests – melds the traditional action of the Western with science fiction and all its digital trickery.

It’s a curious juxtaposition of pistols and laser guns and certain elements of Jon Favreau’s entertaining film don’t gel.

Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) wakes up in the desert with a gunshot wound, a large metal bracelet on his wrist and no memory of who he is or how he came to be in the dirt. He struts into town and is unmasked as a killer with a sizeable bounty on his head.

Arrested by the sheriff and bound for prison alongside Percy Dolarhyde (Paul Dano), Jake makes his escape from the prison coach during a devastating attack by extraterrestrial craft.

Percy is abducted and the boy’s powerful father, Woodrow (Harrison Ford), vows to rescue his son and press-gangs Jake into accompanying his posse on the perilous mission. Beautiful cowgirl Ella Swenson (Olivia Wilde), publican Doc (Sam Rockwell) and a fatherless boy called Emmett (Noah Taylor) join the hunt for the aliens.

Created by Damon Beesley and Iain Morris, The Inbetweeners was one of the most critically lauded and successful sitcoms on E4, winning prizes at the British Comedy Awards and National Television Awards. After three series, the writers decided to conclude the misadventures of their teenage protagonists at the multiplexes, though The Inbetweeners Movie (Cert 15) is not being shown to critics beforehand.

Posh boy Will McKenzie (Simon Bird) and his friends Simon Cooper (Joe Thomas), Jay Cartwright (James Buckley) and Neil Sutherland (Blake Harrison) are now 18 years old and can escape the clutches of their school headmaster Mr Gilbert (Greg Davies) forever.

Determined to enjoy one last hurrah before university, they head off on a holiday to picturesque Crete, where Jay continues to spin ludicrous yarns about his sexual exploits.

The hormonally-charged young men meet Alison (Laura Haddock), Jane (Lydia Rose Bewley), Lisa (Jessica Knappett) and Lucy (Tamla Kari), sparking romance and desire under the Mediterranean sun.