Don Cheadle plays straight laced FBI agent Wendell Everett who has come to Ireland to hunt down the smugglers and immediately comes into conflict with Sgt Boyle. He's a great but increasingly frustrated foil to Gleeson's character.
Showcasing the bleak, rain and windswept beauty of the western Ireland coast this gem of a film is punctuated by moments of witty dialogue and genuine pathos.
The only thing in the world Gerry cares about is his mother, who is slowly but with good humour succumbing to cancer. He cares for her deeply and wants to make sure her final weeks are spent in comfort.
It would seem this relationship underpins all his relationships with women. Underneath his gruff exterior and sometimes inappropriate tongue is a person who cares about the women in his life and wants to put things right when things for them have gone wrong.
Gerry Boyle cavorting with some girls on his day off.
Gerry is finally drawn into the investigation when the wife of his partner Aidan (Rory Keenan) reports him missing in mysterious circumstances.
This comedy is full of spot-on performances from the supporting cast of wacky small town Irish denizens. The leads also do a fantastic job delivering some of the hilarious lines from this razor sharp script.
A standout are the bad guys who discuss Nietzsche one minute and commit brutal violence the next. They aren't your typical idiotic crims, they can outthink and outwit the best of 'em.
Gleeson's (and all the other Irish actors) Irish brogue is right on the edge of decipherability which means you'll have to concentrate but that concentration is rewarded with plenty of laughs from some fantastically pitch-black humour.
Like the hilarious In Bruges, The Guard juxtaposes hilarious banter and witty dialogue with scenes of violence to great effect.
This is the kind of film you'll find in everyone's top 10 movies for the year.
It's smart, funny, sad, well-acted, beautifully shot and punctuated with scenes of ultra-violence.