Brendan Gleeson delivers one of the funniest performances of the year in The Guard (Sony), a wickedly offbeat black comedy of murder, smuggling and culture clash on the Irish coast. “I’m Irish, sir. Racism is part of my culture,” he explains after a succession of impolitic comments at an HQ briefing with an American FBI agent (Don Cheadle) following a drug smuggling ring to rural Ireland. And sure enough, he’s an unapologetic wild card in a cinematic world that channels Tarantino patter into British black comedy. John Michael McDonagh is the brother of Martin McDonagh, the creator of the inspired In Bruges, and while he shares sense of humor, whimsy and dialogue dexterity, if not quite a command his filmmaking command. Still, it’s enough to turn this into a skewed treat. Liam Cunningham is his more articulate superior and Mark Strong co-stars as a well-read thug keeping a low profile during the investigation.
The DVD and Blu-ray both feature commentary by writer/director John Michael McDonagh and actors Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle, a making-of featurette, director McDonagh’s debut short film “The Second Death,” deleted and extended scenes and outtakes among the supplements.