- Actors: Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle, Mark Strong, Dominique McElligott, Liam Cunningham
- Directors: John Michael McDonagh
- Writers: John Michael McDonagh
- Format: DVD + Blu-ray, Subtitled, NTSC, Widescreen, Dolby
- Language: English
- Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
- Region: Region A/1
- Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
- Number of discs: 2
- MPAA Rating:
- Studio: Alliance Films
- Release Date: Jan. 3 2012
- Run Time: 96 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
- ASIN: B005WKH3AI
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #20,801 in Movies & TV Shows (See Top 100 in Movies & TV Shows)
The Guard [Blu-ray + DVD]
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Sergeant Gerry Boyle (Brendan Gleeson) of Galway is crass and abrasive and interprets the law a bit freely, all to glorious comic effect. Paired with strait-laced American FBI agent Wendell Everett (Don Cheadle), Boyle seeks to solve a couple of murders and disrupt a massive drug shipment in what could have been a trashy fish-out-of-water buddy comedy--but, through a combination of sharp and witty writing, ruthlessly speedy editing, and understated but spot-on performances, The Guard is a marvel of character-based storytelling. Gleeson (28 Days Later, In Bruges) and Cheadle (Devil in a Blue Dress, Hotel Rwanda) are peerless actors, the kind who rarely star in blockbusters but who bring dynamic life to any scene they're in. The supporting cast is chock-full of off-kilter talent, turning even the most incidental role into a memorable character. Writer-director John Michael McDonagh makes a remarkably accomplished feature debut; The Guard moves forward with gripping efficiency, yet every moment seems casual and often beside the point, crammed with colorful language, incidental comedy, and a deliciously eclectic soundtrack. The result is hugely entertaining. One of the best films of 2011. --Bret Fetzer
The Guard, written and directed by John Michael McDonagh (Ned Kelly) and starring Golden Globe® nominee Brendan Gleeson (2009 Best Actor in a Motion Picture Comedy or Musical, In Bruges; 2010 Best Actor in a Miniseries or Motion Picture made for Television, Into the Storm), Academy Award® nominee Don Cheadle (2005 Best Actor in a Leading Role, Hotel Rwanda), Mark Strong (Green Lantern, Sherlock Holmes) and Fionnula Flanagan (TV’s Lost) will include:
- Deleted and Extended Scenes
- The Second Death Short Film
- The Making of "The Guard" featurette
- Los Angeles Film Festival Q & A
- Commentary with Writer/Director John Michael McDonagh and actors Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle
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Top Customer Reviews
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
The writing is witty and the quirky characters are reminiscent of a Coen brothers masterpiece.
Cheadle is talking about the recent killing to Gleeson:
CHEADLE: "We need to go door to door and ask people if they saw anything."
GLEESON: "You lost me at 'we'".
CHEADLE: "You and I need...
GLEESON: "It's my day off."
Effective use of sound track. Great script. Funny. Clever.
F-bomb, no nudity, adult situations.
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**