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Character-driven, raucously thrilling crime comedy
Davor Blazevic14 October 2011
Screenplay writer John Michael McDonagh's directorial debut, "The Guard" (2011) is really a fine movie, relying the least on the originality of its story, describing criminal proceedings of the group of cocaine drug-smugglers and their interaction with local police, set against the backdrop of small-town western Ireland, however, filled with crackling good dialogue, sparkling with wisecracks, accompanied with nice scenery and pleasant, unobtrusive music. But, what makes it the best is its protagonists' performances.

Brendan Gleeson is usually natural, making the character he plays fit like a glove—whether the robust and humorous loyal buddy and the warrior, as in "Braveheart" (1995), or a quiet and subdued aspiring politician, as in "Gangs of New York" (2002), or a non-supportive father, civil war volunteer-turned-deserter, as in "Cold Mountain" (2003), whether the gentle, mentoring, culture-exploring hit man in hiding, as in "In Bruges" (2008), or on the other side of the law, the grouchy police sergeant with defiant, often dissident sense of humour (provocative in one-liners like "being FBI, don't you prefer to fight unarmed women and children…"), as in this movie--and Don Cheadle, in the role of FBI agent Wendell Everett, a bit in the shade of Gleeson's Gerry Boyle, but nevertheless, sufficiently competitive ("Langley is CIA, I'm FBI…"), neat and convincing in his performance as always. (I admit to have a soft spot for this actor since his impressive role of the manager of Kigali Mille Collines hotel in the movie "Hotel Rwanda" (2004), the very same hotel I have been frequenting for two months in 1995, just a year later to tragic events described in the movie.)

To a pretty frequent movie goer like myself, who hasn't seen a single en par (or better?) leading actor in this year that is rapidly advancing towards its end, it is hard to believe that very many better acting performances could be demonstrated in the remaining two months or so. Therefore, if Brendan Gleeson does not find himself at least among top nominees for any yearly awarded film prize, I'll have a problem finding such decisions just.

As a marginal note, I was lucky to watch this movie back home in my motherland, because having it subtitled was very helpful in order not to miss any of sergeant Boyle's wisecracks, delivered often in heavy Irish accent, and to understand at all occasional lines, uttered by marginal characters, spoken completely in Gaelic. Of course, point was not to be understood by English native speakers, but it was still interesting to know what usual "advices" (if not insults) were given to English speakers, though eventually not English (as FBI agent!) at all. As Irish colleague of mine once said… "We don't sing songs in Gaelic so English people cannot understand how badly we talk about them, they know it already! We sing in Gaelic simply because that's our traditional language (N.B. official whatsoever), and songs sound much better and sweeter in it."
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Gleeson commands the screen from start to finish. Hilarious.
markgorman18 June 2011
Michael McDonagh is the brother of one of the funniest writers in the world just now. Like him, 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 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 likable 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 marvellous script.
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Understated and funny, a showpiece for Gleeson
bdgill1221 August 2011
Despite the fact that I live in a bustling metropolis, all of the theaters that show smaller films are somewhere between 30 and 50 miles away. In "Dallas Traffic Time", that translates to somewhere between 90 minutes and 16 days. As a result, I don't get time to see many of these films until they come to DVD, if at all. In my experience, art house films are often the most difficult to write about and even more difficult to properly judge, particularly in the summer. When almost everything I've watched in the last three months has involved superheroes, aliens, or jokes related to bodily functions, I have a tough time transitioning to more mature and cinematic endeavors. So it is with "The Guard, a film entirely unlike anything else I saw this summer.

Sergeant Gerry Boyle (Brendan Gleeson) is an off-the-wall, somewhat crotchety veteran police officer who patrols a small Irish town. Shortly after beginning an investigation into a peculiar murder, Boyle discovers that his case is related to a major drug ring that is currently being hunted by FBI agent Wendell Everett (Don Cheadle). As straight-laced as they come, Everett is an odd pair for Boyle but the two are forced to work together to take down the cartel. When the case pulls Boyle in deeper than he would have ever imagined he is forced to reexamine his life's work and turn himself into an unlikely hero.

If that synopsis makes "The Guard" sound wholly serious, bear in mind that it is completely and totally a comedy. A dark comedy to be sure but a comedy nonetheless. If you've ever wondered what "Hot Fuzz" would be like if it was subtle and less over-the-top, "The Guard" fits the bill. This is writer/director John Michael McDonagh's first full length film but I would never have guessed it if not for the magic of IMDb. It is a witty, well-written film that makes its tone clear from the first scene. The pacing isn't exactly what I would call slow but instead calculatedly casual; it knows where it intends to go and it makes its way with balanced determination. This is a film that knows its own identity and doesn't stray from the dark comedy path more than a time or two. Its humor is smart and lively. Even with the thick accents (which probably caused me to miss a joke or two) "The Guard" is filled with exquisite dialogue and understated jokes that brought more laughs than anything from all but the very best big budget comedies this year has brought.

The plot of "The Guard" is simple but refined and that pushes all of the attention onto the characters and the actors who portray them. Cheadle is a solid straight man and as he always does, he makes the absolute most of every scene he is given. As one of the ringleaders of the drug ring, Mark Strong's character is straight out of a Guy Ritchie film, a role Strong is great at playing. Please Mr. Strong: stick to these films and stay away from popcorn crap like "Green Lantern." But despite all of the excellent actors around him, "The Guard" is all about Gleeson. His work in 2008's "In Bruges" (coincidentally directed by McDonagh's brother Martin) finally brought him the attention he deserves, but Gleeson has always been a favorite of mine, a magnificent actor who never fails to impress no matter how little screen time he is given. Boyle is a without a doubt a curmudgeon (and a slightly racist one at that) but Gleeson makes him exceedingly likable. He is a wild card, the type of guy who does the right thing when you're absolutely sure he's going to continue to disgrace himself and Gleeson pulls this off perfectly. Moreover, he once again exhibits the brilliant comedic timing that has made him one of the best and most versatile actors that Ireland has to offer. I'm not saying it's his best performance but rather another in a long string of quality portrayals that illustrate just how undervalued this guy really is.

Fun, intelligent, and genuinely hilarious, "The Guard" is an excellent departure from my typical fare this time of year. I've made no bones about the fact that I really like summer blockbusters. I love them, in fact. But when a movie like "The Guard" comes along in the midst of the "Conan the Barbarians" of the world, it serves as an incredibly refreshing reminder of what we have to hope for in the coming months.

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Film defence
roboclerk-130-62955510 August 2011
I must take issue with the bobbowhite review.

As a citizen of Ireland I can safely say that this film is easy to understand and accents should not be adjusted just so that USA folk can follow.

If an English MP can find the film enjoyable and recommend it to her 35,000+ twitter followers, then no-one should complain.

The scenery is superb.

The characters just right for the West of Ireland as I remember it.

The whole scope of the current Irish populace is contained in the film and age old attitudes subtly dealt with.
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Either Smart or Stupid
David Ferguson14 August 2011
Greetings again from the darkness. Writer/Director John Michael McDonagh is the brother of Martin McDonagh, who brought us the excellent In Bruges (which also starred Brendan Gleeson). I figured it best to say that upfront because there is no way to avoid comparisons of the two films. Clearly these men grew up in the same house and were trained in a brilliant method of writing dialogue.

Brendan Gleeson delivers a powerful and hilarious performance as a local cop (Garda) in rural Ireland. His Sgt Gerry Boyle is quite an enigma - he gets along great with locals, yet struggles to fit into society. This is never more apparent than when FBI Agent Wendell Everett (Don Cheadle) hits town on a drug smuggling investigation. The key to their relationship is crystallized at the moment an exasperated Agent Everett says to Boyle, 'I can't tell if you are really smart or really dumb'. Of course, I am paraphrasing because the F-word gets literally worn out in this movie. There aren't many lines I can actually quote in print. But the word rolls off Gleeson's tongue as if it's a work of art ... especially in conversation with his ailing mother, played well by the always terrific Fionnula Flanagan.

The international drug smugglers being chased are a trio led by Liam Cunningham and the always interesting Mark Strong. The endless rips, insults and jokes are fired rapidly at Americans, Brits and anyone unfortunate enough to hail from Dublin. Boyle uses his Irish background as a crutch for his racism and insensitivity. But he leaves no doubt about his expertise as a cop. Heck he even recognizes the importance of some 9 year old kid riding around on a pink bicycle. That's just another example of the off-center approach to story telling offered by McDonagh.

If you are a fan of In Bruges, Snatch, or Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, I think you will enjoy this one. It falls just short of that level, but not by much. Gleeson is outstanding and the story is simple enough, yet with plenty of twist, turns and hilarity.
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fantastic dry comedy with comical racism
thedavidrowley26 August 2011
For everyone who saw and loved In Bruges, have I got the next movie for you…The Guard. This is a fantastic piece of cinema brought to us by John Michael McDonagh, the brother of Martin McDonagh, who was writer/director of In Bruges. This is the first major film directed by John Michael McDonagh and it does not disappoint.

Set in western Ireland, The Guard begins aerial view of a drunk driver cruising down the highway at high speeds. Right from the start it's easy to understand where the humor will come from – Brendan Gleeson, who also played a large role in In Bruges. The car goes out of frame, skids, squeals, and crashes in front of Gleeson's patrol car. Oh, did I mention he's a cop this time? Quite the role reversal. The crash wakes him – slowly – from his day dream and he pulls up to check out the scene. After rummaging through the pockets of one of the people in the car he finds a bag of drugs, which he tosses away from the body, though, not before dropping a tablet of acid for himself. Cut to introductory credits.

If this doesn't get you off, leave the theatre and begin questioning your understanding of what's funny. The rest of the movie is comprised of smartass remarks and brilliant dry humor.

Don Cheadle plays a straight laced, by the books, FBI agent from the States investigating a drug smuggling scheme that's rumored to be happening in the area. These two must work together to find crack an overlapping case (Cheadle's looking for the drug lords, Gleeson's looking for murder suspects – the same people). It's a good buddy-cop narrative between the two and they work really well together.

I don't want to gush too much more over this movie, just go see it. I'll leave you with a quote that should depict a fair picture about the humor in this movie: Gleeson: I'm Irish. Racism is part of my culture.

See this movie. Until next time folks, cheers!
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Expect to laugh and cringe at a glimpse of Irishness
Alan Wilson29 July 2011
The guard is like lethal weapon if it was set in the west of Ireland. Unorthodox police work-yes, disregard for superiors -check, only thing is Sgt. Gerry Boyle has slightly less enthusiasm for action than Officer Riggs.

At times during this movie I had to turn away so no one would see me smiling at the few racist comments, slurs and generalizations. But I wasn't surprised to see behind me, no else in the cinema was holding back the laughter. It seems that it takes a lot for Irish people to find something offensive.

The rest of the characters were enjoyable to watch. They are a close representation of who you should expect to meet if you spend enough time in Ireland and will get you into some memorable 'situations'.

OK so this review is more about Ireland than the movie but I think to enjoy this movie you need to embrace both the story and culture of the country.
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Protecting comedy
kosmasp8 September 2011
I really don't like those phrases but this movie deserves the "instant classic" tag in my book. B. Gleeson is just amazing and seeing Don Cheadle having a role where he is actually acting is a treat in itself too. He has shown so much potential (Hotel Rwanda to name but one movie), but has done quite a few awful movies too, that I always relish him in the ones that actually are good.

But it's the Gleeson show here and the guy shows he can carry a movie alone. He is funny, witty and his character is quite hard to define. Actually a sort of Dujardin "OSS 117", but more realistically and more cynically I guess. Or if you want to go old school, Pink Panther it is. There is not enough good words I can say about this, so I suggest you go ahead and watch it yourself :o)
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One of the finest surprises this year has brought to me
maxima-milli14 October 2011
"The Guard" is definitely a movie to recommend. Its beautiful simplicity, provoking colors and incredibly witty lines simply make this a small masterpiece. I haven't expected a thing, but it does seem that this directorial surname becomes something to be kept close within the radar.

It has somewhat of that Warhal-like touch to it within the play of multiple strong colors and nuances, where it is visually provoking and satisfying, easy to relate and almost as easy to touch. Along with remarkable scenery and those absolutely sets details, the roles are accordingly brilliant.

Brendan is more than expectedly good and from my point of view, this might just be his best role so far (though all are excellent). The easiness and the flow make the movie a cake one swallows easily. Though grim at all times, it puts a big smile on a face from the first moment.

Unpretentious and fresh, it has a tiny nuance of early '90 movies such as "Pulp Fiction", but unlike others, the directing made it look absolutely different. It is unpredictable at all times, yet one keeps waiting for Gleeson's next line. Probably one of my favorites for some time. Will watch again, definitely.

As for the language, I have to agree with the issue - English is not my native language but it was so awful trying to watch it with those unnatural subs in English. It took half of the fun and I simply turned it off and enjoyed it, understanding it easily. Being so lost in translation, it certainly will not be as great as it really is - even one line lost is too much for such a screenplay.

I'm not an Irish, right. Yet I could identify easily with the characters and feel the ease. As for this year's movies I've seen so far, this was the biggest surprise and biggest satisfaction.

With simple soundtrack which turns out fully unexpected towards the very end - much of a "Mexican standout", "The Guard" is truly a rewarding movie and a hope that there are still ways to make fresh ones to enjoy without having to compare or predict.
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Funny, entertaining, but flawed.
Fatboydim8 July 2011
I saw this movie in Galway at the film Fleadh. Dit it entertain me? Absolutely. Would I buy it on DVD / Blu Ray ? Another yes. Funnier than The Hangover [1st film] In my opinion yes. However just like that film you have to decide very early on to suspend your disbelief and just go along for the ride.

I feel a little for John Michael McDonagh as he will no doubt always walk in the shadow of his brother. Which is a burden most writer / directors do not have to deal with. Already an early reviewer has compared it to In Bruges. I think I gave In Bruges a ten star rating. This has an eight. In Bruges - as extraordinary as it was - had a whiff of truth about it and the danger in the movie was real. Here the action is so cartoon that it generates no tension at all, and you never really fear for the characters. Of course Gleeson is in both movies and in my opinion give a much better performance in In Bruges. . Here he is just having fun. Who can blame him... The characters in The Guard are drawn with very broad brush strokes, and lack any kind of subtlety. The sub-plot involving Fionnula Flanagan feels bolted on and slows the movie down. It's intended to show the main character has a softer side, but you can get that through the thrust of the main story, and the elements are there to take advantage of this. Simple things that could have been done to add a little more realism and heart to the movie that would have generated greater emotion, depth of feeling, tension, jeopardy and ultimately bigger laughs.

At the Q & A afterward it was suggested the script was written in 13 days. Clearly that was just a first draft - but I do think subsequent drafts were not worked hard enough. As sometimes there isn't enough breathing space between the jokes... so the bigger gags / situations don't build in the way they should. Or a moment of compassion is lost because a laugh comes rolling on top of it due to a cheap gag.In that respect it feels to me as if the writer / director is still learning pace and rhythm. It's very common in comedy where a writer doesn't want to lose what he feels is a good gag - but sometimes you have to cut gag A in order to get a bigger laugh on gag B. A stronger script editor on the film could have made all the difference.

So all in all it is a bravo. I very much enjoyed the movie. I do expect John Michael McDonagh to go on to bigger and better things and I wish the movie great success. After all 8/10 is a great score.
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A precious little gem of a movie (not your usual comedy)
John Raymond Peterson1 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
First you need to read the full storyline of this movie, then consider the two main characters, Sergeant Gerry Boyle and FBI agent Wendell Everett, played by Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle respectively, and you have yourself the makings of something special. Many of you know about Cheadle but perhaps the name of Gleeson not as much; he has a wealth of experience and you will not be disappointed by any of this actor's performances. Since I watch a fair share of Euro productions, I knew I was in for a treat. Sergeant Boyle is a character you can't help but loathe and really like all at the same time, in other words an ideal character for the screen, and he's got the physical appearance that commands attention. Cheadle plays such a different character that the pair's interaction has you hooked for the duration. It is not a gut laughing movie, but one that uses humour naturally flowing from Irish culture. Oh yeah… your ears are likely not tuned for some of the dialogue which is heavy with the Irish dialect, so the pause-rewind features will come in handy (by all means, use them it's worth it not to miss the colorful dialogue).

To describe the outrageous Sergeant Boyle is something that could turn you off, you'd likely dismiss the movie; trust me, seeing him is an entirely different thing, because Gleeson makes him very real, not at all outrageous (that's acting). The crime story that unfolds is slow to average pace because it had to be; it's happening in a small coastal town in Ireland. Anything quicker paced would be unrealistic. There are other very good supporting actors in this movie and UK movie enthusiasts will recognize them immediately, like Liam Cunningham, Mark Strong, Fionnula Flanagan. I have written often that I watch an inordinate number of movies in hopes to find gems (small low budget productions, big viewing value); I rarely do and less often have the chance to recommend one. I recommend this one. My usual sources (critics sites etc.) gave it a strong rating and that pleases me.
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The Guard (2011)
SnakesOnAnAfricanPlain12 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
From the brother of the director of In Bruges. In many ways the film follows a close pattern of dark comedy, fantastic characters that you love, and huge belly laughs. An FBI agent arrives in a small Irish town and must deal with Brendan Gleeson's rude and crude local cop. Gleeson's Boyle is a wonderful creation. He has heart but is such an arsehole you're surprised people can remain in his presence. He appears not to care about taking drugs and doing hookers, but when it comes down to serious matters, he's at the top of his game. What's wonderful to see is Gleeson putting up a front to appear stupid and ignorant, but then uses that to surprise both his colleagues and his enemies. Along the way we are also introduced to a trip of philosophy quoting drug traffickers that also have a sense of humour about their job. This is almost like a Lethal Weapon movie with real people, where they don't know they are in a buddy/action comedy. Bad guys aren't acting bad and good guys aren't acting good. The humour breaks the mood in many scenes, but in the best possible way. The setting only adds to the brilliance of it all. It's like a small Wicker-Man community where big drug dealing is going down. Like In Bruges, it gave me characters I cared for, action I was enthralled by, and restrained camera work that allowed me to appreciate everything that was going on.
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The funniest thing out of Ireland since Father Ted!
niall88bhoy6724 April 2013
Brendan Gleeson at his very best. This was at least 10 times better than I expected it to be. It really was superb. Brendan Gleeson, probably best known for his non-starring roles, really steps up to the gauntlet. An original title, The Guard is extremely funny, but in a smart way. Anybody can make fun of an Irish law enforcement officer, and thats what at first this film seems to be about. But is it? As Wendell Everett (Don Cheadle) so aptly puts it- "You're either, or really.....dumb. I just can't decide which". This movie is McDonagh's directing debut and it really does seem like he has a bright future ahead of him as a director. Another thing I loved about this film is the fact that Gleeson stays true to the role. He doesn't at all dilute Sgt.Boyle's thick Galway accent, even though this may be a source of annoyance to non-Irish viewers. He is utterly convincing as Boyle. As is the portrayal of the Galway natives - not a small bit stereotypical. From my experience of Galway people, this film is all to accurate! In short, The Guard is certainly the funniest thing to come out of Ireland since Father Ted. A must see, wheter your from Portumna or Portugal, Carraroe or North Carolina. Enjoy!
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O, rare! A very good movie.
EephusPitch7 August 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I like going to see movies. I mean it: I like going to see movies. So the bare fact that the last film I felt compelled to go out to see was Takeshi Miike's Samurai pastiche 13 ASSASSINS, well over a month ago, will give us all some idea of the paucity of quality films that have been available this summer. Largely, it's been a summer of super hero spectaculars, lame remakes of lame originals, "bromances", and animated dreck; nothing to which I could give a definitive answer to the question, "Would I get more enjoyment out of seeing this movie, or sticking my tongue in a desk fan?"

So...seeing that two of my all-time favorite actors, Don Cheadle and Brendan Gleeson, were appearing in the same movie? I literally went to the first screening I could get to. Mind you, I wasn't expecting anything more than a chance to watch two estimable actors practicing their craft, but Lord knows that would have been enough. What I got was a very smart, well crafted piece of cinema: nothing that will change anybody's life, but just a solid pleasure to spend an hour and a half in a dark place watching. Cheadle is stuck playing the straight-man, which he does quite well; but really, this is Gleeson's show. He plays Gerry Boyle, a very venal sergeant in the Garda Siochana; a languid, hefty blob, with a predilection for prostitutes, and a taste for controlled substances, Boyle is entirely underestimated by those around him. He is very much a relative of Sheriff Patton, the seemingly slow-witted officer in Raymond Chandler's "Lady in the Lake"; he is only able to be lazy because he is very efficient. He also happens to be very moral, and incorruptible. The leads are admirably supported by a crackerjack cast, including Mark Strong, as an English drug dealer, and David Wilmot, who plays a psychopathic, excuse me, I mean a sociopathic, enforcer. Another solid performance is turned in by Fionnula Flanagan, as Boyle's cancer doomed mother. I know that this film will inevitably be compared to IN BRUGES; for me, this was a superior movie: it was less bombastic, and much, much funnier.
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A quite entertaining "odd couple" film
Argemaluco5 April 2012
The fact of only thinking about a movie which deals with two cops making an "odd couple" makes me snooze. Most of the films belonging to that sub-genus are pieces of crap such as Hollywood Homicide, The Man or Showtime. That's why I took a quite pleasant surprise with the film The Guard, which proves that there's no need to re-invent the formula in order to make a very entertaining film with likable characters (who aren't caricatures), funny humor (simulataneously subversive and affable) and an ingenious screenplay, in which the suspense and the anguish don't dilute the comedy.

Besides of the precise screenplay (which includes some genuinely unexpected turns) and the hidden connections between the characters, the best thing of The Guard is witnessing the ups and downs in the relationship from the two main characters, opposite extremes regarding preparation, methods and even physical appearance; but identical in their tenacity to make the justice be respected (even if they don't share the same definition of that word). The "odd couple" films tend to rely on the same jokes and the same conflicts and contrasts in the characters' nature; The Guard also occasionally employs those clichés, but it does it with an astute sense of humor which suggests a hidden level of satire to the movies from the same sub-genus.

What I can say against The Guard is that some details could have been better polished, while other ones feel a bit forced. Nevertheless, I think The Guard works very well in various levels mainly thanks to the various attributes from the screenplay and the perfect performances from Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle, who can both perfectly balance the humor and the drama. The "bad guys" are also interesting thanks to the solid performances from Liam Cunningham, Mark Strong and David Wilmot, who didn't forget to bring humanity to the villains they interpret. In conclusion, The Guard isn't a great film, but I liked it pretty much, and I recommend it.
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The guy is a moth** f**** genius
Mayur Mahrotri9 December 2011
Now, this is just another movie revolving around just another incident that might (or might not have) taken place on the face of this earth and about which no one cares.

However, the beauty is how wonderfully it has been presented. This is what I love about these movies. A plot that is absolutely insignificant, dialogues that are just pure awesome, and funny and sad at the same time.

This is an absolute must watch for all the cinephiles and for people who enjoy American culture bashing (that is everyone, I guess).

Gleeson obviously stole the show but I loved Mark Strong's character in the movie and the remark at the pay off was just too awesome for me :).
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Perfect Comedy
stefan-soos-201-9148521 November 2011
This is the funniest movie i've seen in a long time, probably since the Python years. It has all the basic ingredients of a traditional boring police comedy: White irish cop gets an afro-American partner, drugs, murder, corruption and so on but director JM McDonagh takes the genre to a new level. Right from the beginning to the end, every scene is just absolutely hilarious, i basically never stopped laughing once it started. Its constantly pushing the boundaries of how odd a cop comedy can be and its right on 99,9% of the time. The acting is incredible, Gleesons portrayal of a drinking, "womanizing", racist but extremely likable cop is outstanding, but even the minor actors really do a hell of a job. Don Cheadle is perfect as the stoic counterpart to Gleeson and the crazy, Nietsche discussing criminals are brilliant. If you wanna laugh, watch this.
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An absolute gem of a film, entertaining from start to finish.
D_Y_Evans25 March 2012
The Guard is a fantastic film, it is brilliantly clever, warmly humorous and fantastically acted. Those are some pretty strong words but they are thoroughly deserved. As the American FBI Agent Everett (Don Cheadle) comes across to deal with the drug smuggling gang he finds his task somewhat hijacked by the straight-up Irish Guard Sargent Boyle (Brendan Gleeson). His frank but careless attitude appears him to be the last man Everett would want to deal with but stuck with him they go on to form an unusual partnership.

The film always maintains the spirit of its Irish humour, and consciously rejects any Americanism which is often imposed on films of all genres. We can see this in the rejection of Everett throughout the film, as the American is out of place in the Irish setting. It is only through the reserved acceptance Boyle shows him that he goes on to play a significant part.

Performances by the cast are superb, with Gleeson being of particular merit, there is never a moment in the film you come to doubt him or his character. The pacing and direction are equally excellent and there is little, if anything to falter.

It is hard to stress the caliber of this film, you will find it hard to fault a thing about it. It is a film that will remain in my collection and I shall certainly be returning to it for repeat watches.
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Highly recommended
jeparks118 February 2012
I must confess that I'm a big fan of Gleeson... one of the most enjoyable romps of the last few years for me was "In Bruges". This movie is cut from a similar cloth, although Gleeson is anything but the straight man here. A delightfully politically incorrect caper, with some great characters and fresh writing. You may find yourself shaking your head in a combination of wonderment and pity at Gleeson the Guard, but ultimately, I wish every lawman on the planet had his sense of honor and fair play. Strong supporting cast with a notable performance from Mark Strong, and Don Cheadle plays it perfectly as well. Sure hope you'll give this one a look, and enjoy it as much as I did.
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Is it all there...?
jaffacake2k1 October 2011
.... The simple answer is: YES! This a great film and make no mistake. I seriously doubt it will get the audience it deserves though, which is a great shame for both the actors and crew - and of course, its intended viewers.

Set in the rural west coast of Ireland, the film follows the local police sergeant as he investigates a shipment of drugs heading to the local port. You could say that there isn't anything here that we haven't seen before but that would be missing the point. This film is brimming with clichés and obvious plots. But that the whole point! Its an Irish parody of the traditional Hollywood fayre... Tongue firmly in cheek! Gleeson is simply superb as the Guard. His delivery of his lines is faultless and provides much of the humour for being so. If there is an underrated actor in mainstream film making then Gleeson is the fellow!.

However, not far behind, are his two co-stars. The wonderfully able Strong and Cunningham. Both of which are more than watchable as usual. I've liked Strong since i caught him almost 20 years ago in Sean Bean's SHARPE series of TV films. He was an accomplished actor then and he's only improved. He doesn't appear to age either! Cunningham is just as good - there's something about him that allows an air of psychosis and he fits this role like the proverbial glove.

Our leads are helped out by a terrific supporting cast. Some of which may be well known in Ireland but alas were not to me. With the exception of Pat Shortt who I recognised from the FATHER TED sit-com.

I loved this film from start to finish. It has a nostalgia about it of a time and a place that perhaps i don't even remember. If that makes any sense? More please!
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Witty, smart and delightful Irish humour
tombrookes200728 November 2011
This is a brilliant find and film gem of 2011. The Guard is witty, amusing, like-ably entertaining and smart.

An Irish policeman (known as 'The Guards') who is care-free and confrontational is reluctantly teamed up with an FBI Agent (played by Don Cheadle) to help catch a trio of drug smugglers.

Brendan Gleeson (from In Bruges, ) plays Sergeant Gerry Boyle, a once athletic swimmer who has now hit a mid-life crisis almost and sarcastically lives an unvalued life as a Guard, in Galway Ireland.

The film is nicely paced, humorous throughout, with Boyle a lovable rogue character, and realistic in its setting and filming. The baddies (3 drug traffickers) are welcomed stars (Mark Strong and Liam Cunningham) in what is a classic modern comedy from the UK, being subtle, clever and delightfully slapstick.
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A comical story on self-redemption in rural Ireland.
Joe27 September 2011
The Guard is unconventional although you can see where it is influenced from.

Based in rural Ireland, our lead man is a politically incorrect cop, with a dying mother, a partner gone missing, and a fondness for prostitutes. In between noising up his colleagues, he likes to break the rules (e.g. drug taking), and despite the chance of a lifetime drug trafficking case turning up in front of his nose, he seems disinterested.

Brendan Gleeson wise cracks as the seemingly jolly but bitter lead, whilst Don Cheadle acts as a foil as a US drug enforcer trying to get any cooperation to crack the case.

The drug deal becomes secondary through much of the film. It's more a humorous study of our man. It's a bit of a redemption story, like some we've seen before (a kind of comedy Bad Lieutenant). The lead reminds me of Irvine Welsh's book Filth but that's possibly coincidence.

Anyhow, our main man is interesting but not all will love it. The film doesn't paint rural Irish people in a good light but it shouldn't be taken too seriously. It's laugh out loud at moments although you may feel uncomfortable at some points.

Well written but nothing special, it's a fair ride and will keep your attention. Has its more serious moments that turns all on its head. You can see the ending a mile off but it doesn't matter.

Enjoyable and funny, it's a good movie that some will lap up. Others will just see it pass over them.
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Wonderfully dark humour with great characters and dialogue throughout – Gleeson owns it
bob the moo21 September 2011
Sergeant Gerry Boyle is a rather unconventional police officer – and perhaps not as effective as he could be. When the FBI trace major cocaine players to his district, Boyle is surprised to find that none of them are black or Mexican, but ends up assisting FBI agent Wendell Everett who, for his money, cannot work out if Boyle is really smart or really dumb.

The scenario with The Guard makes it sound like a standard fish out of water tale (with Everett being the fish) or another buddy-cop movie where two conflicting or bickering partners come together to solve the case. True, it has things in common with this genre in its dialogue and gun-fire, but this film is much more like someone took such a genre film and handed the script to the Cohen brothers and Graham Linehan to work on. The plotting is pretty straightforward here but it is the comedy that drives it. Those looking for the easy broad laughs suggested by the trailer might be disappointed because the film is funny because it has great characters and dialogue that is infuse with a wonderful Irish melancholy. Free of sentiment, the film is funnier for it because it is just so wonderfully odd.

The heart of the film is Brendan Gleeson and he owns it. He gets his character just right and has great comic timing and delivery, making the most of the dialogue which is wonderfully shocking and funny throughout. Writer and director McDonagh did an interview recently where he was acerbic and a little too honest about his feelings about his younger brother's success, and he uses this dark edge well in his writing, as well as mixing in visual and musical references to good effect; his script is as strong when it comes to one-liner jokes as it is in regards the brutal humour of his characters unsentimental realism. I'm not sure how they got Don Cheadle on board, but he is pretty good and to his credit the Hollywood star knows that he is supporting Gleeson, which he does. The supporting cast has Cunningham and Strong as philosophising drug dealers and they are as good as the entire supporting cast because the script is great for all the characters.

Overall, The Guard is a hard film to pigeonhole because while it is essentially a mismatched cop partner comedy, it is infused with a real oddness and dry Irish no-nonsense humour that works really well. Gleeson loves every minute of it and dominates the film while everyone wisely plays their part to support him in his lead role. McDonagh does a great job and The Guard will more than help him with his sibling rivalry.
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Pure genius
seanhimdb16 August 2012
Genuine Irish comedy, full of laugh-out-loud moments. Not for the easily offended, though, so don't show it to your grandmother if you don't think she'll like hearing the F-word applied to exhaustion, by all the cast and especially the star, the wonderful Brendan Gleeson.

Best odd-couple buddy cop comedy since Hot Fuzz.

Best Irish comedy since Divorcing Jack, or The Commitments.

Turn on the subtitles if the accents are too thick for you. Or, should I say, if you're too thick for the accents. (Yes, that was deliberately offensive. Just trying to give a hint of the flavor of the movie's attitude.) I found some of the reviews here hilarious. Especially the one that thought it was about tracking down a serial killer, complained about the lack of suspense and car chases, and thought the various sub-plots slowed the story.

Agreeing with another reviewer here, yes, the MI5 joke alone makes it worth the price of admission.
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