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Showing 1-10 of 56 reviews(4 star). Show all reviews
I have only watched a few Irish movies, but this one made me want to rectify that situation. The Guard is gritty, bleak, funny, and riveting. Brendan Gleeson plays a bigoted Irish cop in possession of a prodigous amount of street smarts. Don Cheadle plays an FBI agent on the trail of a ring of Mafia-like arms dealers. I wouldn't have expected these two actors to have chemistry, but they did. Good cop flick!
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on September 7, 2014
I think some groups of people might like this movie a lot more than others. I am female and was watching with 2 guys. One of them likes edgy, subversive movies. This movie was absolutely perfect for him. I also liked it, but not at first. The main character is blatantly racist/bigoted, rude, sleeps with prostitutes, and says the f-word in every sentence. The whole point of the movie is to look past that, and the movie was successful at making me care about the main character and enjoy the movie (after the first bit).

I have mixed feelings about this message. It's the Curious George trope: it doesn't matter how much trouble you cause as long as you heroically save the day in the end. It's the lovable, rude, unlikely, badass. It reminds me of the doctor on House. People who like that kind of character will love this movie. Be aware that it contains lots of swearing and drinking. Lots of men in very unglamorous underwear, holding their junk, etc. Quite a few deaths and casual joking about it. I think this is a movie that will appeal to a lot more men than women.
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Something there is that is charming about films set in Ireland with Irish characters speaking in beautiful brogue and THE GUARD fits into that category very comfortably. Written and directed by John Michael McDonagh this is a funny, fast-paced film that manages to poke fun at many points of bigotry (anti-American, racism, the gay lifestyle, etc) in a manner that keeps the comedy rolling. In many ways the film is comparable to the film IN BRUGES, if that helps the reader to categorize in a positive way.

Sergeant Gerry Boyle (Brendan Gleason) is a small-town Irish cop in Western Ireland with a confrontational personality, a subversive sense of humor, a dying mother, a fondness for prostitutes, and absolutely no interest whatsoever in the international cocaine-smuggling ring that has brought straight-laced FBI agent Wendell Everett (Don Cheadle, in a role that allows him to display his comedic gifts) to his door. Boyle's partner, a gay man Aidan McBride (Rory Keenan), the brunt of many of Boyle's jokes, is shot while making a traffic arrest by the drug smuggling gang (Mark Strong, Liam Cunningham, Owen Sharpe, Michael Og Lane) which leaves the cantankerous Boyle to align with the American black FBI agent Everett to solve the case. What begins as a fiction filled alignment ends up as a touching friendship.

McConagh's writing and direction are as fine as they come for films of this sort. It will be necessary for most viewers to turn on the subtitles to understand the brogue (the few Gaelic passages are not translated!). The cast, from the major roles to the minor ones (especially the extraordinarily beautiful Katarina Cas) including Laurence Kinlan and Fionnula Flanagan, is superb. This is a very fine comedy well worth the attention of a very wide audience! Grady Harp, May 12
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on December 3, 2014
Brendan Gleeson is simply one of my favorite actors. He redefines the word versatile. His story is a great one having been an extraordinary stage actor up to the age of 35. He taught high school along the way in Dublin. He's also a very impressive fiddle player (see 'Michael Collins').
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on June 4, 2012
This is one of the funnier films I have seen in a lifetime of watching film. Gleeson's performance is outstanding.

The opening scene is grim, and yet it ends with a line of dialogue that must be one of the darkest, and best, opening lines of any comedy ever made. Priceless. It sets the tone for the whole film.

The humour is not for everybody. It is frequently very dark. Much of it relies upon a sense of irony and incongruity that some people (including a few reviewers here) plainly do not have. A shame really.

It also helps to have some understanding of the cultural imagery - much of it based on Catholic teaching - that is being given a twist.

Yes, a very funny film. We will be watching it again. Probably on a rainy, dreary day.
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on June 6, 2013
Again, I saw this movie reviewed and thought it looked like something I might enjoy. The comedy between the two main characters was really well done. I caught myself trying to decide who was straight guy and who was the comic throughout the whole thing. It turns somewhat more serious towards the end, but never let's you down in the character rolls that the stars play with and against each other. It was surprisely good. I will likely watch it again, which I seldom do.
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on September 24, 2014
Funny film and nice character acting. For something remotely serious in story line, it can't help to get a little carried away at the end and concludes more with a Hollywood, rather than Irish ending.
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on February 21, 2012
I'm watching this film at the moment (near the end) and am thoroughly enjoying the story and Brendan Gleason in the role as the eccentric Irish policeman - a mixture of comedy, suspense, & drama; of course the obvious is that the film brings back a lot of flashbacks (48 Hours, Beverly Hill Cops, a certain TV series, and even a taste of some westerns - great stuff!); well, guess what I own the first two movies, so not a problem for me. I'm putting a 4* rating on the film but could have added another 1/2* if possible - not sure I want to purchase the DVD (a Netflix rental at the moment) but I'm considering - ;)

NOW - all of those really DUMB 1* ratings - and the comments on 'Irish' humor; well, my father was half-Irish and the humor is different - I grew up w/ it and my Jewish wife still does not understand when I'm using 'blarney' on her - one has to understand the history of that country to appreciate much of this film, especially Gleason's character (he was born in Dublin); this film received a 95% rating from Rotten Tomatoes (those are the REAL paid critics - the concept of 'paid' reviewers doing Amazon posts is ridiculous!) - for those who have not seen this film please read the 'real' paid reviewers and also ignore these 1* ratings (maybe those are the paid ones?). :)
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on April 19, 2012
On the surface "The Guard" would appear to be your standard cops infiltrating a drug smuggling ring movie. At it's heart it's a delicious dark comedy with a love of everything Irish in the center. The jokes come at you at a mile a minute. My personal fave is a bit where Don Cheadle's FBI agent goes door-to-door looking for information and he meets a couple who speak Gaelic. Most of what's offered here is funny. A lot, though, is to colloquial or maybe just not that funny. Regardless the always wonderful Brendan Gleeson and Cheadle as the reluctant partners in crime solving have an indelible chemistry. Not perfect but has more than enough good stuff to suffice.
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on September 20, 2012
I didn't have time to catch this in the theater because is was not a wide release and was only on screens for a week. Being a huge Don Cheadle fan, I didn't want to miss this so bought the DVD. He gave a workmanlike performance, but the script was a bit too clunky to be saved by one man. This movie wasn't really made for US consumption and if you are not from the culture depicted, you may not 'get' this movie. However, Cheadle's imitation of Christopher Walken in the Extra Features section was worth the price of the DVD alone.
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