Opening 22 Sep 2011
Small-town cop Gerry Boyle (Brendan Gleeson) works on the west coast of Ireland. On his day off work he smartens up and regularly frolics with two young and cheerful prostitutes who keep him amused with their charades. Otherwise he is looking after his dying mother, keeping to himself or observing the townspeople. Nothing gets him easily excited. Not so his new assistant, the over-zealous Aidan (Mark Strong), whose speculations get out of hand after discovering a mysterious dead body in one of the holiday flats. The mystery grows as FBI agent Wendell Everett (Don Cheadle) arrives. Gerry learns from him that a shipment with 500 million dollars worth of drugs is due to dock on this coast. It seems that his quiet days are over. He does not want interference in his area; he does not like the sleek, well-educated and poetry-quoting agent who does not understand the language of his people. (Well, if you are not Irish yourself you will also have a hard time in understanding half the conversations.) Barry’s rapport with the FBI man is brusque, often bluntly offensive. On their mutual patrol rounds they realize that they have more in common than meets the eye, and Barry warms to the American. He realizes how deeply involved his community is in heavy drug trafficking and corruption. In the end, he has to admit that the only trustworthy person is this strange man that the FBI had sent. The two conspire to tackle a dangerous task together, and Barry turns out the hero.
Brendan Gleeson (known from the Harry Potter films as well as In Bruges and Braveheart) is terrific as the rough guy with the soft heart. It’s also a pleasure to watch the rude, often refreshingly “political incorrect” exchange between him and Don Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda, Iron Man 2). Director John Michael McDonagh brings a subversive humour into this well-made unconventional Irish thriller. (Birgit Schrumpf)