Probably the first time I saw actor Brendan Gleeson was in “Braveheart.” Playing an angry Scottish/Irish warrior with a face smeared with blue make-up, he seemed to melt into the crowd of English haters. It was an excellent movie, however. I’ve never seen a bad film featuring Gleeson.
The first time I really fell under Brendan Gleeson’s spell was the feature film, “The Guard.” His characterizations reach out and connect. Gleeson plays Irish cop Gerry Boyle. Don Cheadle plays Wendell Everett an FBI agent from Atlanta following drug dealers to Ireland. Gerry is watching a presentation by Everett and keeps interrupting him. He comes across as a bit of a buffoon, but he is no fool . . . and he knows exactly what he wants and needs to do. I don’t know how many times I have seen this movie, but it is a definite favorite. I love every scene he is in from the two girls he hires for a lovely evening (night), to his sweet moments alone with his mother, to getting the job done that he’s hired to do. This was the first movie I saw starring Gleeson and he owned it.
Born in Ireland in 1955, Gleeson is listed at number 18 on The Irish Times list of Ireland’s greatest film actors. But Gleeson is well beyond an Irish actor. He played an American retired police officer in “The Company You Keep,” a Robert Redford film with Shia LaBeouf.
Gleeson was transformed in the TV production of “Into the Storm.” He became Winston Churchill, the savior of Great Britain and the free world. You could feel his resolve and determination. He won an Emmy Award for his portrayal of the cigar chomping and whiskey drinking prime minister.
The versatile actor was outstanding in “Alone in Berlin” with Emma Thompson. They play a married couple in Nazi Germany. They blame Hitler for their son’s death and fight back against the oppression of the totalitarian state by simply writing notes of truth and leaving them where they could be found. As they carry out their own little rebellion against the state you can just feel the tension and pressure as the secret police and fellow Berliners tighten the noose they know is coming. They keep doing the right thing for as long as they can.
Brendan Gleeson isn’t household name, but if you’re a fan of the Harry Potter films, you might recognize Gleeson as Alastor Moody. Gleeson’s son Domhnall Gleeson even lays Bill Weasley in the film “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”
This fall, Gleeson might have a chance at a second Emmy as he portrays President Donald Trump in “A Higher Loyalty,” a tell-all TV miniseries adapted from James Comey’s book “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership.” The two episode series premiers Sunday, September 27th on Showtime. The second episode runs on the 28th. The creator of the series is Billy Ray, a writer and producer, known for Shattered Glass (2003), The Hunger Games (2012) and Captain Phillips (2013). Ray met with Comey multiple times over the course of a year to prepare the series. Filming began in Toronto in November 2019. The series’ budget was $40 million. James Comey is “an American lawyer who was the 7th director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from 2013 until his dismissal in May 2017. Comey had been a registered Republican for most of his adult life; in 2016, he described himself as unaffiliated.”
It should be very entertaining watching Gleeson play Donald Trump. I may have to sign up for Showtime in September to see the mini-series. In the mean time I will re-watch “The Guard” a few more times. “Alone in Berlin” is just too painful and too real to consider. Regardless, please watch Brendan Gleeson. You will be rewarded.