The Guard - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Guard Reviews

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May 20, 2018
Amazing film, gets better every time you watch.
January 30, 2018
Ages ago I saw the trailer of this film, and just like after watching the one for "In Burges" I've decided to skip it. Then Three Billboards came around. I watched it, I loved it, and I told myself that maybe I was wrong to judge before watching. And now that I watched it I can tell myself: I was not! Is this the same John Michael McDonagh? It cannot be. Just a couple of jokes made me smile (smile not laugh) and the story is so flat and uneventful is difficult to believe that came out of McDonagh pen. Maybe I did lost a couple of jokes in the strong accents, but even so there is nothing else to save. B-acting for a B-movie. I see that a lot of people liked it and I cannot figure out why to be honest. I won't watch In burges.
January 26, 2018
Un tema que a mi parecer es aburrido, este filme lo convierte en una comedia excelente, con actuaciones super agradables, y personajes profundos.
Graciosa, impredecible, irlandesa.
January 4, 2018
Terrifically well acted, extremely entertaining, Brendan Gleeson steals the film with a great supporting cast as well.
½ December 16, 2017
I'm sad that I didn't love this as much as I was expecting to. Gleeson was fantastic, though, of course, like he is in everything.
November 25, 2017
Reviewing this now after seeing the wonderful "Calvary" with which it shares a director, lead, and many supporting cast members. Loved this one even more I think than "Calvary." Both are a bit dark, and not for the particularly squeamish. But they are funny and so clever.
½ October 8, 2017
A top cast lead by Brendan Glesson do this Black comedy proud. Some may struggle with "West of Ireland" accents and the plot plays plays second fiddle to the characters but Brendan bring home the bacon!
August 23, 2017
The Guard is the funniest film i've seen in a while.... actually the most enjoyable film i've seen in a while. Brenda Gleeson owns in this. A must!
Super Reviewer
½ June 28, 2017
This mismatched buddy cop film is brilliant, the buddy cop is more for the poster as Gleeson is the centre of attention. The film is full of fantastic actors and they compliment one of the better indie films of recent times. The humour is very dark and one of the key ingredients of separating this from the Hollywood drones. The film has a very different outlook on the tired cop formula that Hollywood has stuck to after all these years, I would never have expected Gleeson to be so interesting and funny. The film is hypnotic and you are always eagerly awaiting what Gleesons character comes up next. Cheadle is another well chosen actor and this is definitely an underrated role for him, his presence gives this film added depth. The Guard as I know it, is an indie film that is worth checking out. 27-06-2017.
May 15, 2017
It could easily have been just a weird stylistic dark comedy, which it also is in some way, but the writing, directing and Gleeson's performance bring it into a more subdued and relaxed territory that's both focused and smart, letting the emotion of an almost lifeless character creep up on you.
½ April 15, 2017
Watched this recently and it surprised me how good it was. A very funny, dark comedy about a member of the Irish guard that is kind of...Unconventional. I knew I was going to like it when he dropped acid while on duty in the opening scene! Had me cracking up quite a few times.
March 11, 2017
Wow.. Director Mcdonagh and Brendan gleeson.... Calvary was brilliantly tragic, and the guard (one of the director's early works) is hillariously fun greatly because of the Mcdonagh's eye for finding comedy in the most uncomfortable of situations.. And that's why The guard is an ace in the hole.
½ January 3, 2017
It's good movie to watch
January 1, 2017
A cracking action comedy with Gleeson reprising his grumpy persona seen In Bruges, well worth looking out for.
½ December 17, 2016
nothing like dark Irish humor
½ November 23, 2016
An ordinary cop, enjoying his single life, gets into a real cop business!

I won't say it is an overrated film, but it simply did not work for me. The same director who had made 'Calvary' directed this one as well with Brendon Gleeson in the lead, but that was an earlier project to this one. I loved that film, not this one, though I consider it an average, because I did not find it bad. The theme was very familiar, and too much wasted scenes with the slow narration spoiled my mood. There's no clear perspective of the storytelling, just it concentrated on a small town cop and his single life, and rarely he fights the crime.

When an FBI agent comes looking for some international drug dealers, a cop in a small Irish town braced to assist the American officer. Though he never cared to involve in it. He follows his usual lifestyle, enjoying every moment of his life. After a woman comes asking to find his cop husband gone missing, he now gets into the action. How serious he makes progress in the case and its result is the rest of the film to disclose.

It's not as funny as I anticipated. But watchable film for its quality narration. The actors were just okay. The characters were really weak, particularly the villains. They occasionally appear and gone for forever, and then there comes the final battle. Did not sync well between them and the cop, especially what they were fighting for, other than they are. Especially the FBI agent played by Don Cheadle casting was worthless. For a fine theme like this, the plot should have developed with at least a couple of twists and maybe a grand action sequence. It does not matter though, at least engaging plot needed, but failed on that part. Sorry to say that I'm not in favour of it to suggest it to anybody, though you might it better than me.

½ September 9, 2016
Fresh, exciting, funny and at the same time frustrating as hell. The frustration however doesn't come from negativity but in the sense that I wanted to see more. The narrative really ramps up two thirds of the way through, and the interaction between Gleeson and Cheadle reaches it's peak, and then within ten minutes it is all over and I was gutted. The script here is brilliant. It doesn't rely heavily on narrative but more the likability of the characters. The interaction from Gleeson's Boyle is hilarious. In one scene whilst being threatened he manages to give himself brain freeze from a chocolate milkshake, or even discusses owning a giraffe whilst at gun point, down to asking if getting shot hurts moments before joining a gun fight. This is what keeps the Guard moving swiftly and for what it lacks in plot and subplot it makes up for with the characters. The end however does feel out of place and although unconventional doesn't wrap the film up in the way it should have done. The villains are one dimensional and the characters wasted on the top cast but if you watch this to enjoy the camaraderie of the leads then you will not be disappointed.
August 1, 2016
Featuring both the director and star of Cavalry (2014), The Guard's undisputed talent in a popular comedy sounded too entertaining to ignore.

Unlike any other kind of buddy cop film available on the market, The Guard is not a generic comedy film. In actual fact, it is a film which takes time to examine the developing relationship between its main characters as more than just a comedic gimmick. There is humour in the film, but it comes from the realism of the film's characters more than any wisecracks or ridiculous situations. As a result, it's more of a black comedy along the lines of In Bruges (2008) which was another crime comedy film to feature Brendan Gleeson in a Golden Globe-nominated performance. Audiences more familiar with the American narrative formula may not embrace the humour in the same manner that viewers from the homeland are likely to, and I say that from personal experience as there were times when I wasn't completely sure whether the film was being comedic or dramatic. But either way, it was still an enjoyable experience.
The entire mood of The Guard is extremely serious so its hard to take it as a comedy all that often. There is much gritty territory that gets tackled in The Guard and the characters consistently approach everything in a very real manner, giving the feature an intense feeling. The humour is not always enough to sufficiently lighten the experience away from its dramatic virtues, but there are surely a good amount of laughs in the feature to keep it from getting too dramatic.
The Guard doesn't attempt to hide anything underneath a barrage of action scenes because it is not an action comedy; it relies on the interactions between characters in dialogue-rich sequences to carry the film. The screenplay offers audiences a completely unconventional perspective on differentiating cultures. While it is traditional that American characters are of far lower sophistication than their UK counterparts, The Guard completely diverts this convention. The Irish protagonist is dedicated to his cause but he is also a self-centred and rule bending official a foolish nature about him. By contrast, his American counterpart is an intelligent and articulate African-American who is show continuous disrespect by the locals in Ireland. The Guard provides both a humourous look at real Irish culture and a critique on stereotypes, ensuring that it doesn't stoop to simply reducing them to single-note jokes. This theme is played off for both comedic and dramatic effect in the film, and its just one of the many examples in which the humour comes from the drama in the film and vice versa. In essence, The Guard is very much a deadpan black comedy. A lot of the humour may go over the heads of viewers because it is not an explicit brand of humour, rather a subtle one which uses cultural differences and quips of the screenplay to get its audiences chuckling. I saw strong character development happening in these scenes and thought that the dialogue functioned with enough charm and development to compensate for the small-scaled simplicity of the actual story. But I can't say I found myself laughing all that often. I feel like if you told someone that The Guard was a drama and they went into the film with that mindset, it would be very easy to come out of the experience still believing that it was. For me, it was a comedy-drama at best. It was certainly an entertaining one which managed to maintain a brand of charm consistently throughout, but it was not the romp I was expecting. As well as that, though I enjoyed the buddy relationship at the heart of the film I found that the oscillation between the two as main characters interfered with further character development that could have taken place.
With The Guard being a slow-paced independent film, it is one which definitely relies on the charisma of its stars to ensure that it is carried into successful territory. Luckily I can certify that this is one area in which The Guard does not come up short.
Brendan Gleeson is a brilliant lead in The Guard. The entire film largely centres around his character as he is a very real one. Sergeant Gerry Boyle is a protagonist full of flaws; one who bends the law for his own personal gain but maintains a powerful allegiance to justice. Since he is flawed there is no idolization of the character, and his tendency to give in to temptation and make mistakes shows clear humanization of him and makes the film seem all the more real. Throughout the entire film there is a mystery surrounding whether the protagonist is a genius or an idiot, and Brendan Gleeson manages to keep the mystery alive with an attitude of self-indulgent idiocy and dedication to the cause. Brendan Gleeson is unpredictable in The Guard and remains deeply rooted in his role which displays his strong talents to work in both comedy and drama. He manages to make wisecracks at the right times without losing focus of the dramatic heft in the narrative, and he manages to keep audiences guessing in the process. Brendan Gleeson sinks naturally into his leading role in The Guard, and he works with director John Michael McDonagh to bring out the best in the script.
Don Cheadle also makes a powerful lead. The actor is noted for his natural sophistication and charm which he transfers over to The Guard into a fish out of water context where he is surrounded by racist locals. The man consistently approaches the material with a direct ambition for his character to find answers and does so without rising to a level that condescends the people around him, ensuring that there is no egotism in the part. Don Cheadle is a naturally admirable actor, a status which he brings to the part of FBI Agent Wendell Everett to create another likable protagonist for the film. Teamed up with Brendan Gleeson, the two make a great leading duo.
Mark Strong is also a solid supporting presence who once again tackles the role of a villain without flinching.

The Guard's small-scaled story and slow pace limit the extent of material it can explore while the brand of humour can prove to walk a strange line between deadpan and drama, but with Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle bringing their natural charisma to the experience it is kept actively entertaining most of the time.
July 22, 2016
Unfortunately, despite a few laugh out loud, gut bursting moments, and a great duel performance from both Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle, 'The Guard' suffers from poor pacing, and an abundance of unfunny scenes filled with unlikable characters.
Super Reviewer
March 26, 2016
It's hard to hate this film but it's also hard to really like, The crude irish tone and dark humour works very well but the story was rushed in places, But it's clever and the ending fitted the film well.
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