Pain and Glory (Dolor y gloria)
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The greatest crime comedy, and crime comedy duo ever.
Sergeant Gerry Boyle (Brendan Gleeson) is an officer of the Garda Síochána in Connemara in the west of Ireland. He is crass and confrontational, regularly indulging in drugs and alcohol even while on duty. He is also shown to have a softer side, showing concern for his ailing mother, Eileen (Fionnula Flanagan). Boyle and his new subordinate, Aidan McBride, investigate a murder, with evidence apparently pointing to an occult serial killer. Shortly after, Boyle attends a briefing by FBI agent Wendell Everett (Don Cheadle), sent to liaise with the Garda in hunting down four Irish drug traffickers, led by Francis Sheehy-Skeffington (Liam Cunningham), who is believed to be awaiting a delivery of cocaine. Boyle recognises one of the men in Everett's presentation as the victim of the murder he and McBride had been investigating. McBride pulls over a car driven by Sheehy and his lieutenants Clive Cornell and Liam O'Leary and is shot dead. McBride's wife, Gabriela, reports McBride's disappearance to Boyle, who promises to look into it. The strait-laced Everett and the unorthodox Boyle are teamed up to track down Sheehy and his men but, while Everett makes the rounds, encountering language difficulties and uncooperative residents, Boyle has a sexual encounter with a pair of prostitutes at a hotel in town. On his way back from the hotel, Boyle spots McBride's Garda car at a "suicide hotspot" along the coast, but does not believe that McBride killed himself. Meeting Everett at a local bar, Boyle notices a CCTV camera and remembers that the original suspect in the murder case claimed to be frequenting the very same establishment at the time of the killing. Looking over the footage from the time of the murder, they see that the suspect's alibi is valid–and Everett also spots Sheehy and Cornell at the bar at the same time. Meanwhile, Cornell delivers a payoff to the Garda inspectors to keep them off the case, but Sheehy believes that Boyle will not be so easily swayed, after he meets with Boyle to half-heartedly attempt blackmail and then to offer a bribe, which is refused...
Reviews for The Guard were overwhelmingly positive. Rotten Tomatoes consensus reads, "A violent, crackerjack comedy with a strong Irish flavor and an eminently likable Brendan Gleeson in the main role." In The Hollywood Reporter, Todd McCarthy wrote: "Scabrous, profane, violent, verbally adroit and very often hilarious, this twisted and exceptionally accomplished variation on the buddy-cop format is capped by a protean performance by Brendan Gleeson a defiantly iconoclastic West of Ireland policeman." Vanity Fair's John Lopez wrote: "So far, The Guard has been the most thoroughly enjoyable film experience at Sundance, a nice change of pace from the anomie, alienated angst and melancholy of other films." In Screen International, David D'Arcy wrote: "As a director, McDonagh avoids the grand gesture and focuses on his web of odd characters that call to mind the comedies of Preston Sturges." Justin Chang of Variety wrote: "The film making crackles with energy, from Chris Gill's crisp editing and Calexico's ever-inventive score to d.p. Larry Smith's dynamic camerawork, alternating between bright, almost candy-coloured interiors and shots of Galway's grey, rugged landscape."
With all he praise this dark comedy by John Michael McDonagh have gotten I was expecting something pretty great, but got something quite opposite in my opinion compared to what many others think. This is I guess simply not my type of dark humour as I didn´t like this film at all. It´s slow paced, choppy, theatrical and with a cast that feels unbalanced. I am not sure what "The Guard" really wants to be, but I guess it aims at being a strange and different dark comedy.
That was a lot of fun.
John Michael McDonagh's directorial debut, "The Guard" -- much like his younger brother Martin's early efforts, I might add -- succeeds heavily on its usage of black comedy and its lead performance from Brendan Gleeson, but beyond that I was left feeling a little disappointed by it. There was just something about the pacing overall that really hampered things for me. I suppose I'd call it a decided lack of urgency. Don't get me wrong. Everything you're watching has an eventual point. It's just that the events leading up to that point feel a little too pedestrian for my tastes, with most of the comedy making me smile, but not laugh out loud much, unfortunately. A quick, worthy watch, but not one I feel will be sticking with me for too long.
Brothers Martin and John McDonagh have written and directed some of the funniest and darkest comedies of recent years. Favoured leading man Brendan Gleeson here plays Boyle, a hard-drinking sergeant in Galway, forced to pair up with a fish-out-of-water American cop (Don Cheadle). The pair are investigating a trio of drug runners, but this is just an excuse to banter and bicker. Great fun, even when the Irishness becomes as impenetrable as fog, and with a wonderful Morricone-esque score. Gleeson is as always just great.
Gleeson glows as gleeless, guileful Glasgow guard galvanized not by an inner drive for justice but a sense of existential ennui and a glorious gift of glib gab—that is, if you can get past the accent.
I'm not sure I've ever seen a movie with as dry a wit and as gorgeous a cinematography. If you can't handle racist jokes or a good amount of swearing don't bother seeing this movie otherwise it's definitely worth your time.
This film was solid.
Got it right with "THE GUARD'. Nice to see intelligence rewarded...
fixated in its self-created hallucination of updating the mockery..
The Guard is a plot driven comic thriller about two cops of different personalities working together in order to catch drug smugglers that results in a chaos. It is flat out hilarious on every single uncouth line of it, that is not only amusing to the core but is deeply honest and is quoted humorously too by the cast.
The primary reason why the humor works so smoothly in here is because it doesn't rely upon forcibly imputed sketchy sequences nor the gags in here are repetitive or futile. The structure of the script is familiar considering the "buddy cop" genre, it is fixated in its self-created hallucination of updating the mockery.
The background score isn't up to the mark but the sound effects are sharp, cinematography isn't that impressive and neither is camera work and editing; accounting all in, makes it short on technical aspects. Gleason's behemoth hearty performance pumps this tale louder and harder than it ever could where the key to its instant connection is the innocence that his portrayal dwells on.
Cheadle is sensible yet equally funny with a decent supporting cast like strong Strong and cunning Cunningham. The writer-director McDonaugh's world may be funny and skeptic but is accurately practical that helps ground these characters of such range and offer this lighter bubble the appropriate gravitas. The investigation followed in here isn't rudimentary at all, it is just a breath of fresh air.
As the screenplay enfolds, it gets more intense, personal, gritty and sharp that offers the apt cathartic experience to the viewers. The slick whimsical tone of each character that defines them, three dimensional characters and brimful of tiny smart notions that ups the ante of the game are the high points of the feature.
The Guard adds their name to the richest of those "buddy cop" genre features with its busy font.