KCUR Arts Reporter Steve Walker shares his top movie picks of the week.
Kansas City, MO – Some of the best plays of the last decade or so were written by Martin McDonagh, and proving that talent runs deep in the McDonagh family is The Guard, written and directed by his brother, John Michael. It stars Brendan Gleeson (in an explosive and wildly funny performance) as an ethically challenged member of the Garda, the Irish police force, whose small village is rocked by a vicious killing connected to drug smugglers. The cash value of the drugs is so large that it necessitates the involvement of the F.B.I. in the form of Don Cheadle, certainly a stranger in this strange but beautiful landscape around Galway. The two men butt heads and trade barbs (Gleeson's character is unabashedly politically incorrect about Cheadle being African-American) but eventually come to like each other a lot and feel connected by more than the bad guys they're hunting. (Pints of Guinness don't hurt.) Gleeson is always good but he's never been better than he is here; he's at once a buffoon and a likable lug, and his performance feels completely real and lived-in. And McDonagh's sharp script is also rooted in reality, for sure, but also shares some of his brother's eccentric, sometimes macabre sense of humor.