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

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 88 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: 22 out of 28
  2. Negative: 4 out of 28
  1. Feb 23, 2012
    Brendan Gleeson! Brendan Gleeson, Brendan Gleeson and once again... Brendan Gleeson!

    A beautiful little, perfectly written and all-around
    marvelously acted film which is tightly packaged and wrapped up with a magnificent performance by Brendan Gleeson (have I mentioned him already?).

    This little tit-bit from Ireland provides a couple of hours of pure fun, sentiment (real sentiment that is, not Hollywood-manufactured "one man starts clapping and the rest join in" sentiment), intelligent and enjoyable dialogue and hits the nail right on the cap as far as what a movie's supposed to do for its viewer. It entertains from top to bottom without trying to go too far or leave you waiting for it to end. If I had to sum this film up in one line it would be: Just the right amount of everything! (+ Brendan Gleeson :)) ).
  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. Collapse
  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. Sep 12, 2011
    A thoroughly entertaining film from start to finish. Brendan Gleeson excels once more and Don Cheadle isn't to bad either! This fish-out-of-water tail see's a huge drug deal bring a top FBI agent (Cheadle) to Ireland, however in the midst of all this is a cheeky, sly local cop (Gleeson) who becomes embroiled. Gleeson is the star of the show no doubt but he and Cheadle bounce of each other very well and bring some outrageously funny moments with its cultural, racial differences which certainly brings a huge element of freshness to the genre. But a huge deal of credit must go to the writer and director of this film in John Michael McDonagh who delivers a sheer delight of a movie that is up their with his best, not quite "In Bruges" but still an immensly funny with great entertainment value that you can't go wrong with. Expand
  5. Sep 12, 2011
    What a new and surprising plot... Old jaded slightly corrupt but with a heart of gold cop, gets put in harness with a dedicated up and comer UK-FBI type who he hares, and they get on badly until ... amazing switcheroo folks... in the final scenes they go up against impossible odds together... I know your as surprised as we were :-( And then folks, the clever old double-switcheroo... which leaves you with a plain oatmeal flavored D. B. Cooper style ending... WOW! Author, author ! It was good to see Mad-Eye Moody (Gleeson) actaully does have another eye... which he should have used to have a good look at this script before he signed on). Don Cheadle is an excellent actor, completely wasted on this script as his characters main motivation is apparently to express ineffective resentment at racist slights from Gleeson's over the hill loudmouth character. To sum up, this is a script that leaves the actors high and dry, and the audience wondering why the ads on the popcorn bag are so interesting. It's an OK movie... but just barely. If there isn't anything good on TV, you might go... but, don't expect to be on the edge of your seat. Unfortunately, this film is not greater than the sum of it's rather pedestrian parts. 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 28 User Reviews


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