Writer/Director: John Michael McDonagh
Running time: 92 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15
UK Release date: 19th August 2011
Watched on DVD Sunday 1st July 2012.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
This is a recent purchase which I was quite keen to see having heard it was well received by the critics. I have to admit it was a bit of a bargain (at £5) for a film that was released over here less than a year ago. That being said, it was well worth the investment; easily surpassing the ‘six laugh test’, a darkly comic look at life in the Police (or Garda) in the west of Ireland. I will tell you more after this very brief summary.
Sergeant Gerry Boyle is a bit of a loner, he is quite set in his ways and doesn’t like anything upsetting the boat. When he’s assigned a new officer from Dublin, Garda Aidan McBride, he doesn’t take too kindly to the situation. A murder has been committed and a man from the FBI, agent Wendell Everett has come to tell them about a drug smuggling operation about to go down in their area. When McBride goes missing, they suspect the drug smugglers; Francis Sheehy-Skelfington, Liam O’Leary and Clive Cornell are responsible. Throw into the mix a couple of prostitutes, McBride’s wife, Gabriela, some bent cops and Boyle’s sick mother and you’ve got all the ingredients for an interesting film. I really don’t want to say any more or the Spoiler Police (Garda Division) will have me cleaning out the cells (again).
Well made with quite a bleak feel to things, particularly the outside scenes, but then again I guess the west of Ireland is a pretty bleak place at times. Great performances all round, particularly from Brendan Gleeson as Sergeant Gerry Boyle and Don Cheadle as FBI agent Wendell Everett. Honourable mentions go to; Liam Cunningham as Francis Sheehy-Skelfington, David Wilmot as Liam O’Leary, Mark Strong as Clive Cornell and Katarina Cas as Gabriela McBride.
I should warn potential viewers that there is an awful lot of swearing in this film, a few may be offended. There is much to admire here, the extremely dark humour of Boyle is countered by the semi-intellectual banter between the smugglers quite brilliantly. The counterpoint between Boyle and FBI agent Everett also works very well. I found it very enjoyable with many subtle comic moments that are not spoon-fed to the audience as in many other films I could name. Over all, I found it very entertaining and was only let down (IMO) by a scene referencing the IRA that I (for one) could have lived without. Even so… RECOMMENDED.
My score: 7.5/10
IMDb Score: 7.3/10 (based on 27,277 votes at the time of going to press).
MetaScore: 78/100: (Based on 29 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 95/100 (based on 121 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 81/100 ‘Liked it’ (based on 21,341 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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Sergeant Gerry Boyle: Now I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, these men are armed and dangerous, and you being an FBI agent you're more used to shooting at unarmed women and children...
FBI agent Wendell Everett: Oh, fuck you, Sergeant!
Garda Aidan McBride: I'm on it sarge.
Sergeant Gerry Boyle: "I'm on it Sarge." He thinks he's in fuckin' Detroit.
FBI agent Wendell Everett: You know, I can't tell if you're really motherfuckin' dumb, or really motherfuckin' smart.
FBI agent Wendell Everett: You have anybody you want me to call?
Sergeant Gerry Boyle: Nah, I don't have anybody. Just pin a medal on my body like those boys coming home from Iraq.
FBI agent Wendell Everett: Fuck you again Sergeant.