The Guard. Directed by (john Michael McDonagh)

Surely a BAFTA beckons.

Michael McDonagh (the John seems to be a movie affectation) is one of the funniest writers in the world just now.  He is a foul mouthed upstart with a unique ability to investigate Irishness with tremendous energy and vividness.

I was lucky enough to attend the European premiere in Edinburgh this week and enjoyed what is another great addition to the McDonagh canon of work.

Inevitably  it has to be compared to the superior In Bruges but this is no lightweight cast off.  Particularly when it one again focuses on a heavyweight performance by Irish heavyweight, Brendan Gleeson.  In “In Bruges” Gleeson had to battle for compliments against Colin Farrell who has never performed better and had most of the best lines.  Not here.  This is all Gleeson, ably abetted by Don Cheadle as the Black FBI agent drafted in on the back of a glittering career to track down a bunch of slightly bungling drug runners in sleepy old Conemarra – Gleeson’s patch.

Gleeson and Cheadle spar well and develop a likeable relationship, despite this it’s not the heart of the movie; that belongs, again, to Gleeson in a tour de force performance.

Cheadle’s good and is a great foil.  The baddies are less well developed characters and, for my taste, were slightly too caricaturised.

It’s not a life changing film but it has to be seen for Gleeson’s complete mastery of McDonagh’s marvelous script.