5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Country For Middle Aged Men
Michael John McDonagh has previously written the screenplay for Ned Kelly starring Heath Ledger which I remember as a good movie. His brother Martin has won an Academy Award nomination, for Best Original Screenplay for In Bruges, which also starred Brendan Gleeson, and what I consider the best performance of Colin Farrell's career, and an Academy award for the short...
Published 18 months ago by L. Power
3.0 out of 5 stars funny movie
Pretty good movie. I had to listen carefully to understand some of the dialect, but all in all well worth watching.
Published 4 months ago by Michael Kozak
Most Helpful First | Newest First
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Country For Middle Aged Men,
This review is from: The Guard [Blu-ray + DVD] (Blu-ray)Michael John McDonagh has previously written the screenplay for Ned Kelly starring Heath Ledger which I remember as a good movie. His brother Martin has won an Academy Award nomination, for Best Original Screenplay for In Bruges, which also starred Brendan Gleeson, and what I consider the best performance of Colin Farrell's career, and an Academy award for the short feature Six Shooter, A Collection of 2005 Academy Award Nominated Short Films, which had rabbitcide, matricide, traincide, and an exploding cow also starring Brendan Gleeson, and at least two other characters you will see in The Guard, written and directed by MJ.
As the movie begins we see Gerry Boyle, the guard played by BG, in his white squad car parked behind a stone wall, when a red car whizzes by. He does not respond to the speeding car. His response to what happens next, has no words, yet it establishes the nature of the character, as he rummages through pockets, and does something with the drugs. We can deduce that here is a guard that does not follow the established rules, and in fact may even be corrupt.
Next we see him responding to a murder scene. Here we get a truer sense of his character by how he acts around the new cop who will be his partner. Here the comedic tone of the movie gets established. He likes to push buttons and get a reaction. They theorise about the murder, a potted plant placed on the victim's crotch, the significance of the number 5 1/2 painted on the wall. Perhaps he was the 5 1/2th victim, the young one theorises.
Like another reviewer I was struck by the parallels with the Coen Brothers, particularly Fargo, and No Country For Old Men. Instead of the barren landscapes of Minnesota, and the quirky Nordic accents of Minnesotans, we have the bog landscape of the Wesht of Ireland, and the quirks and mores of the locals. We have sociopathic criminals. We also have the quirky Spaghetti Western music, reinforcing the ironic tone. We also have a trace of Ryan's Daughter, and a half cracked young lad on a bike, who mirrors John Hurt's character in that movie. We have murderous criminals who debate their favorite philosophers as they drive along.
So, strait laced, by the book FBI agent Wendell Evers played by Don Cheadle, moseys into town, hot on the trail of an international smuggling ring hoping to land half a billion dollars worth of drugs in Ireland. Instantly, this sets up a culture clash, with Boyle making racially insensitive comments. When rebuked, his response. "I'm Irish. Racism is part of our culture."
When Boyle is by himself he wanders his house in his red or yellow y fronts scratching. He does not seem like a brilliant cop. However, not following the book, opens up levels of resourcefulness for him. Guards don't carry firearms in Ireland, yet in a prescient way he manages to acquire weapons, donating the balance to the local IRA man who wears a cowboy hat. With his seeming amorality, you wonder if when push comes to shove, he will back off and let the criminals do their thing or if he will intervene.
Perhaps my favorite scene, the second derringer scene, reminiscent of similar scenes at the beginning of Inglorious Basterds, and final scene with Woody Harrelson, and the innocent wife in No Country for Old Men. Life and death hangs in the balance.
Boyle tells Evers he came fourth in swimming in the Olympics, which made me search the internet after the movie. The answer may surprise you.
Another theme is the nihilism, which is that events have no inherent meaning, a consistent theme in several Coen Brothers movies.
For non Irish speakers, our FBI detective attempts at one point to interview some Irish speaking people. In speech they refer to him as fear gorm, which the subtitle translates as black man. The word gorm actually means blue. If you were saying it literally, it would be fear dubh (pronounced far duhve).
I know that some people claim that they cannot understand foreign accents. Where on earth do you hear more foreign accents than in North America on a daily basis? If I walk the streets of San Francisco, I will hear German, English, Chinese, Filipino, Mexican, South American, you name it. So, we have Oprah Winfrey, or Sigourney Weaver, narrating BBC produced documentaries because producers think customers cannot discern an English accent. The English in this movie is well spoken with a slight accent. West may be pronounced Wesht, just like Sean Connery doesn't say accent, he says ackshent. Even Schwarzenegger was not the governor of California, he was the governor of Callie phone ee yeah.
I saw this at Robert Redford's Sundance Theater in San Francisco. It was an afternoon show, and the political incorrectness, and several American pop culture references, and fun poking commments resonated with the audience.
If you wish to see Brendan Gleeson in another movie, I recommend John Boorman's The General, where he plays Martin Cahill based on a real life Irish gangster.
So, I loved this movie. I think most people will feel the same way, and I think we have seen a great new talent with Michael John McDonagh, in a very impressive first outing as director. It's clear that talent runs in this family, and perhaps they see parallels between themselves as brothers, and the Coen Brothers. I don't think such a comparison is grandiose, and I wonder if they will work together on future projects. I believe that 'genius, in order to be emulated, must first be imitated.'
I think you will love it, and I hope this was helpful. Thank you
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely one to watch and enjoy.,
This review is from: The Guard [Blu-ray + DVD] (Blu-ray)Brendon Gleeson's character Sgt. Gerry Boyle is hilarious. His Irish brogue is strong to the point that by times subtitles would be helpful. The plot of murder, drug dealing and police corruption is not complicated but remains interesting and compelling throughout. This is a very funny movie, not silly or slapstick just 90 plus minutes of down to earth side-splitting enjoyment. Language is a little strong but not done in an offensive fashion. Glad I didn't miss this one.
5.0 out of 5 stars British Humour at it's Best,
This review is from: The Guard [Blu-ray + DVD] (Blu-ray)Brendon Gleeson makes this movie.....well conceived plot but the acting stole the show. Gleeson's best including 'In Bruges" I'm a big fan of Don Cheadle as well but his part was limited and he had to play it straight for it to work. I will be watching it over many times.
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic,
This review is from: The Guard [Blu-ray + DVD] (Blu-ray)This movie is amazingly funny. The team of Brendan and Don are great. I would definitely recommend it to all my friends.
3.0 out of 5 stars funny movie,
This review is from: The Guard [Blu-ray + DVD] (Blu-ray)Pretty good movie. I had to listen carefully to understand some of the dialect, but all in all well worth watching.
5.0 out of 5 stars Harsh, insightful, funny,
This review is from: The Guard [Blu-ray + DVD] (Blu-ray)There is plenty of swearing in this, but if you pay attention to the subtle undercurrents, this movie is surprising on several levels. It is clever, witty and yet shows how one man, tired of the system still makes it work while keeping his sense of humour.
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect,
This review is from: The Guard [Blu-ray + DVD] (Blu-ray)This is the best movie I have ever viewed. There is humor, drama, not a throw away line in the script, every word is brilliant! Beautiful cinematography! Saw it three times with my husband and knew we had to own a copy.
4.0 out of 5 stars Guard is superb,
This review is from: The Guard [Blu-ray + DVD] (Blu-ray)How can you go wrong with Brendan Gleeson? He makes the movie and everyone else has to try and keep up. Overpriced as a most Blueray and DVDs, but at least it's worth spending money on. Laugh out loud funny in parts. The combo pack is silly, however. Just gimme one DVD and cut the price in half. Like that'll ever happen.
5.0 out of 5 stars Characters evolve as humour and action unfold,
This review is from: The Guard [Blu-ray + DVD] (Blu-ray)The Guard's writer-director, John Michael McDonagh, has created a film every bit as enjoyable as his brother Martin's "In Bruges". Both films benefit from a great balance of darkish comedy, breathtaking setting, careful character development, suspense, and stark violence without ever becoming heavy-handed or melodramatic. They also both feature Brendan Gleeson, better known as Mad-Eye Moody from the "Harry Potter" film series.
Gleeson plays what at first appears to be a callous, dimwitted cop who could care less about his job, let alone the lofty virtue of justice. As the film progresses, it becomes obvious that this man (who in the opening minutes strips valuables from the inert bodies of car crash victims) has a heart and morals. And even if he doesn't entirely enjoy his work, he is at least SOMEWHAT good at it. He loves his mother, he loves beer. His simple pleasures, however, conceal his keener-than-anticipated intellect and resounding wit. Not that he cares if people think he's a lowbrow cop.
Enter Don Cheadle, the strait-laced, by-the-book foil to Gleeson's "unorthodox" manner and methods. The two policemen certainly don't see eye-to-eye on many things but are forced to cooperate (to a degree) on the case of international drug smuggling occurring in the peaceable and beautiful town of Galway in Ireland. Their differences are evident: Cheadle's character likes procedure; Gleeson's likes prozzies. Cheadle's character is African-American (duh) and has a "fish out of water" element to him; Gleeson's character exploits their apparent racial and cultural differences, but obviously accepts them, too. The unwitting partners learn from, play off of, and eventually grow on (even look out for!) each other.
I appreciated the pseudo-cliffhanger ending. McDonagh has decided not to pander to the Hollywood-spoon-fed masses by going for a tidy, heartwarming denouement.
A solid film which satisfies the desire for the basics when it comes to movies: a great story, great characters, great actors, a great setting, and great (although measured) evocation of emotions.
**NOTE: As with many other films/TV series of UK provenance, you can almost certainly purchase it on amazon.co.uk at a lower price than amazon.ca**
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Confused,
This review is from: The Guard [Blu-ray + DVD] (Blu-ray)Given the hype about this film at the time of its release I was expecting more. While at times it was humorous, albeit in a dry west of Ireland manner, it was not a gut busting funny film.
And, I know all too well that Ireland can be damp and cloudy, but this film was very dark. They didn't have one day of sunshine in Galway in all the time they were there?
All in all a reasonably enjoyable view, but not something I will be rushing to put in the blu-ray player again.
Most Helpful First | Newest First
The Guard [Blu-ray + DVD] by John Michael McDonagh (Blu-ray - 2012)
CDN$ 25.99 CDN$ 21.93