New Releases: The Guard – (2011)

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New Releases: The Guard - (2011) Genre: Comedy, Crime, Thriller, Release Date: 2012-01-03 Duration: 96 Min ...

New Releases: The Guard – (2011)

New Releases: The Guard - (2011)
Genre: Comedy, Crime, Thriller,
Release Date: 2012-01-03
Duration: 96 Min

  • John Michael McDonagh

An unorthodox Irish policeman with a confrontational personality is teamed up with an uptight FBI agent to investigate an international drug-smuggling ring.


Brendan Gleeson

Don Cheadle

Mark Strong

Liam Cunningham


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2 responses to “New Releases: The Guard – (2011)”

  1. Whitt Patrick Pond "Whitt" says:
    22 of 23 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    A marvelous gem of black-humor and unique characters – Fargo in coastal Ireland, August 31, 2011
    Whitt Patrick Pond “Whitt” (Cambridge, MA United States) – (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)

    This review is from: The Guard (DVD)

    The Guard, a small independent film from Ireland written and directed by John Michael McDonagh, is something of a gem. On the surface, it could fall into any number of the usual categories – crime drama, fish-out-of-water story, odd couple forced to work together buddy flick – but none of those labels would do it proper justice. The closest thing I can truly compare it to is the Coen brothers’ film Fargo. Like Fargo, The Guard deals with a homicide in a quiet rural area (in this case coastal Ireland instead of Minnesota) being investigated by the local authority (in this case an idiosyncratic Garda – Irish policeman – instead of a highly pregnant sheriff). But also like Fargo, what makes the film truly interesting is the character studies that unfold as we see both sides – the police and the criminals – going about their missions. And in a final comparison to Fargo and to Coen brothers films in general, the dialogue is frequently priceless. At the film’s center is the guard of the title, Sergeant Gerry Boyle (Brendan Gleeson), an Irish policeman stationed in the district of Connemara on the western coast of Ireland. In the opening scene, where Boyle witnesses a car accident on a rural road where some local youths are killed, we quickly learn three things about Boyle – very little ever rattles him, he’s definitely more attuned to the spirit of the law than the letter, and he’s far from being above the occasional bit of self indulgence. Shortly after that, when he’s investigating an apparent murder and having to break in a new partner, Aidan McBride (Rory Keenan) at the same time, we learn something else about Boyle: he delights in being a crude, rude, pain in the ass to just about everyone, deliberately goading or provoking people just to see how they’ll react. The plot deepens when an American FBI agent, Wendell Everett (Don Cheadle) shows up, tracking an international drug-smuggling operation who’s rumored to be in the district planning a drop, and it turns out that Boyle’s murder victim is connected to the drug gang. From that point things quickly become a tangle of murder, bribery, blackmail and deception as Boyle and Everett try to close in on the gang before the drop can be pulled off and the gang in turn does everything they can to get the two out of the way so that they can make their pick-up without interference. But it’s the characters and their interactions along the way that really drive The Guard and make it a cut above the usual crime drama fare. Gleeson’s Boyle is a delight to watch – alternating between charming and sensitive one moment and poke-in-the-eye offensive the next – and you can tell Gleeson is having a lot of fun playing him, like when a freckle-faced boy asks him what a derringer he found is for and Boyle replies “It’s for shooting small Protestants.” A touching sub-plot reveals yet another side to Boyle. His mother, Eileen (marvelously played by Fionnula Flanagan) is in a local hospice, apparently with some form of terminal cancer. The scenes between mother and son are both darkly funny and moving, and you can see where Boyle gets his life-on-my-terms approach to things. Don Cheadle’s by-the-book straight-laced Everett is the straight man to many of Boyle’s jabs but he handles the role well, managing to be funny without being ridiculous. One great scene comes when Everett finally sees through Boyle’s “Ugly Irishman” game and Boyle realizes it and just grins, the exchange all through facial expressions. Another great scene has Everett tromping through the Connemara countryside trying to question residents who refuse to speak to him in anything but Gaelic (translated in subtitles so that you know what they’re saying while Everett does not, adding to the comic effect). The members of the drug gang – two Irishmen, Francis Sheehy (Liam Cunningham) and Liam O’Leary (David Wilmot), and an Englishman, Clive Cornell (a stand-out performance by Mark Strong) – are particularly engaging in their scenes. Like one where they’re driving along killing time debating the merits of various philosophers based on nationality, or another where they’re in a local aquarium and Cornell is staring thoughtfully at the glass and comments “I like sharks. They’re… soothing.” Or yet another where Cornell delivers a pay-off and flies into a devastatingly sarcastic rant when asked if the money’s all there. Other characters add to the color, including a cowboy-hat wearing IRA man embarrassed over a missing cache of weapons, a pale-faced camera-flashing local youth who apparently has a fetish for crime scenes, a pint-sized boy disappointed that Cheadle’s FBI man isn’t with the Behavioral Science Unit he’s seen on TV (apparently the only thing that’s going to impress anyone in the district), and a couple of cheery uniformed prostitutes who liven up Boyle’s day off. About the only cautions I would mention are that the…

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  2. L. Power "nlp trainer" says:
    13 of 13 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    No Country For Middle Aged Men, September 8, 2011
    L. Power “nlp trainer” (San Francisco) – (VINE VOICE)
    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)

    This review is from: The Guard (DVD)

    Update. 11/30/11. Last week, on my flight back to San Francisco, I watched a program about the making of The Guard, which has become the highest grossing Irish made movie ever at the Irish box office grossing 4.3 million Euros, beating the previous best, The wind That Shakes The Barley, starring Cillian Murphy. To put this this in an American context, it’s about $1.50 for every man, woman and child in the country.Michael John McDonagh previously wrote 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, 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 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…

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Economic Flash News

Bank of England to beef up consumer safeguards at banks, insurers

The Bank of England will step up efforts to ensure bank customers and insurance policyholders suffer no loss of service if their lender or broker goes bust, its regulatory arm said. The Bank's Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), formally launched last year to tighten supervision of financial firms, sketched out the plans in its annual report published on Tuesday. The withdrawal of insurance, for example, would especially be a problem when cover is mandatory, such as car insurance for drivers and building insurance for mortgage-holders. "Such a framework would suggest greater focus on compulsory insurance, any disruption to which would have an impact on the real economy, and long-term life insurance products which are difficult to transfer," the PRA report said.