Generally favorable reviews - based on 29 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 95 Ratings

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  • Summary: The Guard is a comedic, fish-out-of-water tale of murder, blackmail, drug trafficking and rural police corruption, and the two cops who must join forces to take on an international drug-smuggling gang, an unorthodox Irish policeman and a straitlaced FBI agent.(Sony Picture Classics)
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: Bill Goodykoontz
    Aug 20, 2011
    A fantastically entertaining movie.
  3. 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."
  4. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Aug 18, 2011
    Gleeson is triumphant in this portrait of a complex man who is concurrently sensitive, boorish, brilliant, singular, and unforgettable.
  5. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Aug 19, 2011
    Like its neo-noir kin across the pond, The Guard is violent, profane and funny. But McDonagh is interested in more than mockery.
  6. Reviewed by: Keith Phipps
    Jul 28, 2011
    Focusing the film on Gleeson was certainly the right choice. His performance is equal parts funny and unnerving, and he keeps viewers guessing about what drives the man and what he'll do next.
  7. Reviewed by: Michelle Orange
    Jul 28, 2011
    Like the recent "Perrier's Bounty," The Guard feels like it might play better at home than overseas.

See all 29 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 30
  2. Negative: 4 out of 30
  1. Feb 29, 2012
    I thought this was a very cleaver movie. The dialogue kept us laughing and Gleeson was great. There is some criticism of Cheadle's role, but he served as a great punching bag for Gleeson, so I was ok with him. Clearly the film was built around Gleeson's character. I liked the ending. I would not reccomend this movie for everyone, but for those who like dry/black humor and enjoy cleaver dialogue, this is your movie. Expand
  2. 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. Expand
  3. Jan 6, 2012
    The Guard is a comedic fish-out-of-water tale of murder, blackmail, drug trafficking and rural police corruption. Two policemen must join forces to take on an international drug- smuggling gang - one, an unorthodox Irish policeman and the other, a straitlaced FBI agent. Sergeant Gerry Boyle (Brendan Gleason) is an eccentric small-town cop with a confrontational and crass personality and a subversive sense of humor. A longtime policeman in County Galway, Boyle is a maverick with his own moral code. He has seen enough of the world to know there isn't much to it and has had plenty of time to think about it. When a fellow police officer disappears and Boyle's small town becomes key to a large drug trafficking investigation, he is forced to at least feign interest when dealing with the humorless FBI agent Wendell Everett (Don Cheadle) assigned to the case. Expand
  4. Jul 29, 2014
    The Guard is a solid film and is a true showcase of Brendan Gleeson's acting talent. Don Cheadle is also very good and his chemistry with Gleeson is a definite plus for this film. On top of the acting, John Michael McDonagh's direction is strong and you can definitely tell that his brother is the director of In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths. The script is also very strong and witty and really does a good job developing its characters. The comedy is also pretty strong throughout, but especially in the second half, as it really kicks it into overgear. Gleeson's character is very crude, but hilarious and his delivery of punchlines is great. On top of that, the thriller element is well executed and exciting to watch unfold. The ending is also very well done and leaves you guessing. Overall, this one is an entertaining film with great performances from Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle and enough laughs and thrills to leave you feeling satisfied. Expand
  5. Jun 4, 2012
    Not quite as funny as I'd hoped, but great in places. Fantastic performance from Brendan Gleeson and it's always good to see Mark Strong. Don Cheadle wasn't bad, either. Expand
  6. Aug 15, 2011
    I looked forward to seeing this movie but it was a disappointment. Don Cheadle was very good, and I always like him. Every other word in this movie was the f*** word. Is that really necessary? I don't think so. The premise of the movie is solid, but I think it could have been a lot better. I laughed at times, and I really like low-key humor, but this wasn't clever in the least. Expand

See all 30 User Reviews


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