Generally favorable reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Aug 20, 2011
    The Guard soars along on a script, like those by the other McDonagh (Martin wrote and directed "In Bruges" and the Oscar winning short "Six Shooter," both starring Gleeson) built out of verbal flourishes and Irish curses.
  2. Reviewed by: Kim Newman
    Aug 1, 2011
    Among the most purely entertaining films of the year, which cuts its laughter with a dose of Celtic melancholy. It still delivers cop/action requirements - shoot-outs, revenges, daring deeds - and chances are, we'll be quoting lines from this forever.
  3. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Aug 13, 2011
    The film has visual and verbal flair, spry energy and deep wit.
  4. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Aug 20, 2011
    A fantastically entertaining movie.
  5. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Aug 11, 2011
    The dialogue is smart, screwball, sublime.
  6. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Aug 4, 2011
    The movie is more pure, profane enjoyment than a body should have in the dog days of August.
  7. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Aug 4, 2011
    Part Joel & Ethan Coen and part John Millington Synge, this grotty little fairy tale casts a deft line and reels you in. I'd see it again just to hear the drug smugglers argue over the use of the Americanism "good to go."
  8. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Aug 3, 2011
    The Guard is a pleasure. I can't tell if it's really (bleeping) dumb or really (bleeping) smart, but it's pretty (bleeping) good.
  9. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    Jul 29, 2011
    If the movie's mix of nihilistic violence and snarky attitude suggests "In Bruges," it's a family resemblance. The writer-director of that film, which also starred Gleeson, is Martin McDonagh, the younger brother of this one's. Despite the similarities, the older McDonagh has a lighter touch. Where "In Bruges" ultimately became a mechanical bloodbath, The Guard scampers quickly through the action scenes, delivering commentary on genre conventions as it goes.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 91 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 30
  2. Negative: 4 out of 30
  1. Sep 12, 2012
    The Guard is a truly fine black comedy. It has a fantastic central comic performance from Brendan Gleeson, who plays Sergeant Boyle, a strange amalgamation of the classic good cop/bad cop partnership we're used to seeing in movies, with a twisted sense of humour and questionable morals, but with a heart that is ultimately made of gold, and manages to contain it all within his own imposing Irish frame. Don Cheadle also impresses as Agent Everett, an FBI consultant assisting in the search for a gang of ruthless smugglers (a sinister Liam Cunningham, a terrifying David Wilmot and Mark Strong doing what he does best), and makes a great straight man to Gleeson's less-than-serious Garda. There's numerous side-splitting moments of comedy in the blackest shade to be found in the film's beautifully penned script, by director John Michael McDonagh. Like his brother Martin, McDonagh seems to possess an uncanny ability to see the funny side of the bleakest of situations, and with the addition of a liberal sprinkling of Irish cultural eccentricities, The Guard becomes a real comic masterclass. Western iconography is also transferred surprisingly well from the American Old West to the film's rural Irish setting, with a particularly fine finale where Boyle and Everett go into battle against the bad guys, all guns blazing, a scene that could have been taken from any classic of the genre were it not for the presence of sea salt and copious Celtic-accented swearing. The Guard is a joy to watch - a sensational genre mash-up of cop films, buddy movies and Westerns with a cracking script, memorable performances and a healthy Irish pragmatic view on the world. Full Review »
  2. Aug 27, 2011
  3. Aug 26, 2011
    The Guard has been guarding a tiny village outside of Galway, Ireland for a long time. He has his routines and his eccentricities and he knows everyone elseâ Full Review »