Saturday 18 November 2017

Sundance shines on Gleeson's guard of dishonour

'The Guard' cast members (l-r)
Don Cheadle, Katarina Cas, Brendan Gleeson and Liam Cunningham at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah yesterday where their film, starring Gleeson was premiered to a packed audience. Photo: Getty Images
'The Guard' cast members (l-r) Don Cheadle, Katarina Cas, Brendan Gleeson and Liam Cunningham at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah yesterday where their film, starring Gleeson was premiered to a packed audience. Photo: Getty Images

Grainne Cunningham

ACTOR Brendan Gleeson is planning to drive very, very carefully on Irish roads for a while, just to be on the safe side.

The actor said he's not sure how the boys in blue will take his new film 'The Guard', so he'll be taking no chances.

"I'll let you know the next time I get a ticket for everything, or for absolutely nothing," he joked shortly after the movie premiered to a packed theatre at Robert Redford's Sundance Festival in Utah.

"The film went down a storm last night, which is great because the buyers are in and they are taking and it looks as if it will get distribution here," the 55-year-old actor told the Irish Independent.

'The Guard' is a quirky black comedy in which Gleeson plays small-town garda Gerry Boyle, who has a foul mouth and divides his time between indulging his weakness for prostitutes or appropriating drugs from a recently deceased dealer and caring for his dying mother.

He has no interest whatsoever in the fact that an international cocaine smuggling ring is operating in his area but it is this that draws FBI agent Wendell Everett (US actor Don Cheadle), to Boyle's patch.

Cheadle, perhaps best known here for his starring role in 'Hotel Rwanda', is a tightly-wound, by-the-book man who is the antithesis of the hedonistic, smart-aleck Boyle.

So in one way, it's the classic good cop/bad cop formula, with plenty of dark humour and a distinctly Irish slant.

The screening of the film at Robert Redford's 11-day indie-movie showcase on Thursday attracted a line of major US film buyers and won critical acclaim for writer and director John Michael McDonagh (older brother of Martin McDonagh of 'In Bruges').

And Gleeson was described as an actor "at the top of his game", not bad for a man who got into acting at the ripe old age of 34 who has already won an Emmy and a Bafta.

Some critics have expressed fears that the dense Irish brogue and local cultural references may prove indecipherable to US audiences.

But the movie, which also stars Liam Cunningham ('Hunger', 'The Wind that Shakes the Barley') and Fionnuala Flanagan ('Lost', 'Transamerica') looks destined for distribution across the continent.

Irish audiences will get a chance to see 'The Guard' this summer, when it goes on national release.

Two other Irish films that will show at Sundance are 'Knuckle', a documentary from Ian Palmer that tells the story of an epic 12-year journey into an Irish Traveller community's world of bare-knuckle fighting, and 'Small Change', a short film from Cathy Brady, which stars Nora Jane Noone as a young single mother who turns to slot machines to fill the monotony of her days.

Irish Independent

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