HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Beast and the Magic Sword, The
Last Hard Men, The
Found Footage Phenomenon, The
Night Trap
Skinny Tiger, Fatty Dragon
Benediction
Nezha Reborn
Evil Toons
Worst Person in the World, The
Whirlpool
Hunter Will Get You
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse
Revolver
Men, The
Parallel Mothers
Sadness, The
Bloody New Year
Faye
Body Count
Spider-Man: No Way Home
'Round Midnight
Wild Men
Barry & Joan
Wake Up Punk
Twin, The
Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy
One of These Days
Lift to the Scaffold
Savage Dawn
Rest in Pieces
Innocents in Paris
We're All Going to the World's Fair
Beyond the Door 3
Jules et Jim
Love Jones
Saint-Narcisse
Souvenir Part II, The
Knockabout
400 Blows, The
Virus: 32
   
 
Newest Articles
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
   
 
  Guard, The On Garda
Year: 2011
Director: John Michael McDonagh
Stars: Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle, Liam Cunningham, David Wilmot, Rory Keenan, Mark Strong, Fionnula Flanagan, Dominique McElligott, Sarah Greene, Katarina Cas, Pat Shortt, Laurence Kinlan, Gary Lydon, Michael Og Lane
Genre: Comedy, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 3 votes)
Review: Sergeant Gerry Boyle (Brendan Gleeson) is a policeman in rural Ireland whose idea of thrilling cop action is to watch boy racers crash their cars, go over to survey the damage, then help himself to any pills they might have had on them as they lie dead or unconscious in the road. But one day there is a real crime to take care of when a man is discovered murdered in a remote cottage, a bullet through his brain, a plant pot in his lap, and the number five and a half written on the wall above the body. Boyle has a new sidekick, McBride (Rory Keenan), but he's not much help...

Not to a man who doesn't suffer fools gladly, but is Boyle himself as much of a fool as he actually seems? The Guard was one of the most successful Irish films ever, mostly thanks to the fanbase that In Bruges had enjoyed and many flocked to this hoping for the same kind of laughs. Why In Bruges? Because this was written and directed by John Michael McDonagh, brother of the writer of that film, and they both starred one of the best exponents of the rumpled, world-weary, middle aged man in acting, Gleeson. Thus comparisons were made, but if anything this was the better film, not by much, but in its ramshackle way this was a complete success.

It was assembled like a shaggy dog story, so it was no coincidence that for a lot of this it came across like a yarn being spun to you as you sat in the pub by a raconteur especially skilled at commanding the room. In essence it was an Irish version of the Hollywood buddy movie which would often feature mismatched cops, but McDonagh was well aware of how clich├ęd that would appear, so did his best to undercut every old convention in a way that commented on the country's preoccupation with entertainment from the other side of the Atlantic. This may have been a rough and ready comic set up of Don Cheadle's straightlaced FBI agent flailing in his investigation, but it was not content to lazily recycle all the stuff you'd seen before.

Yes, it was predictable that Boyle and Cheadle's Wendell Everett would not get on, but this was more complex than that. Boyle's trouble was that he was not as stupid and irresponsible as he appeared, and as we see in the scenes with his dying mother (Fionnula Flanagan) he is actually quite a lonely man, and only going to be lonelier once she dies so no amount of drugs, drink and prostitutes are going to ease that condition. Thus he is in the perfect situation to prove his integrity, as he will be the only one willing to stand up to the corruption he sees around him and the criminals who have such influence he won't last long when he does make that stand. Gleeson fed that sadness into his portrayal, but there was more to him.

This was a comedy, after all, and the star was truly hilarious as he blankly makes amusing observations, acts eccentrically, and generally proves a thorn in the side of all those he has to deal with - lawmakers as well as lawbreakers. What was particularly satisfying was McDonagh twigged that underneath these police procedural movies he was simultaneously sending up and indulging was another genre, the Western, and if you didn't latch onto that when you heard Calexico's soundtrack playing, the grand finale where Boyle proves his worth would definitely make you realise that was what they were getting at. Before that, here was proof that it was possible to take a fresh approach to a style that could have easily been tired, and much of that was down to the disparity between what Wendell is used to in the States and what Boyle was used to in West Ireland. The fact that even a half a billion dollars worth of drug smuggling could be cut down to size there was a source of much of the satisfaction.

[Studio Canal's DVD has a bunch of extras, including a making of, deleted and extended scenes, outtakes and even a whole other (short) film.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2583 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Mary Sibley
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Enoch Sneed
   

 

Last Updated: