August 2, 2011

"The Guard"

From my review of the very funny Irish cop comedy The Guard, with Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle, and Mark Strong:
The elder McDonagh has a slightly mechanical gimmick to inspire his screenwriting: he takes all the clich├ęs in American detective dramas and has his characters do the exact opposite. Thus, he’s made a message movie about prejudice and xenophobia: namely, they add a bit of fun to life! In The Guard, the rural Irish resent the big-city Dubliners, all the Irish resent the English, and everybody in the British Isles resents the cultural dominance of American crime shows and movies.

Read the whole there.

The movie is set in County Galway, where something like 10% of the people still speak Gaelic. Driving through Galway in 1987, I asked an old man for directions, but he didn't speak English. That happens to Don Cheadle in this movie, but he finds out later from Brendan Gleeson that they were just saying in Gaelic, "If you want to speak English, go to England."

It would be cool to have your own secret language.

31 comments:

TGGP said...

The younger McDonagh also directed Gleeson in the (very dark) short comedy Six Shooter, which you can watch on youtube.

Anonymous said...

Why the hell is Don Cheadle in the movie? They can't make an Irish cop movie without Don Cheadle in it?

eh said...

Don Cheadle, Irish cop comedy

Those two things don't seem to go together.

very funny

Which is kind of funny I guess.

Steve Sailer said...

Anonymous says:

"Why the hell is Don Cheadle in the movie?"

How will you ever find out?

Oh, wait, I know ... You can follow one of the two links (in blue) I embedded in my blog post to my review in Taki's Magazine, where I answer your question!

Amazing how that works ...

Anonymous said...

In Bruges was hilarious. Looking forward to this movie now.

Marlowe said...

I hate to contradict a popular movie but hardly anyone in the British Isles resents American cop TV shows - we can't get enough of them. Even hip Guardian reading lefties who disliked President Bush & found American foreign/military policy (during much of the entire post war period) loathsome enjoy The Wire (and pretty much everything else). Most of the British love America. We ought to petition to become part of it. With enough grovelling I think we could assume our rightful position befitting our prestige along side Puerto Rico.

Henry Canaday said...

"In Bruges" was Pinter without the warmth.

Anonymous said...

The man you asked for directions probably could speak English. :)

All native Irish can speak English.

Anonymous said...

the irish army was part of the UN peacekeeping mission in Southern Lebanon (might still be?) and they were famous (infamous?) from observing terrible radio hygene. They'd prattle on and on over the commo channels, knowing full well neither the shia, sunni or israelis would have the slightest idea what they were saying. It came off as a Navajo Code Talker meets 13 year old cheerleader-gossip fest. In short, it IS cool to have a secret language. You can talk about who is a jerk or enemy MBT movements equally, in the middle of a conflict zone, utterly w/o fear

Anonymous said...

Tens of millions of people in the US do have their own secret language through which they can communicate totally outside of the awareness of the media, the government, the middle and upper class and the lower class descendants of slaves whose neighborhoods they're taking over.

Liesel said...

Have you seen "The Field?" It was filmed in Leenane. Lovely country side in Connemara.

Did you ask for directions with an English accent? :) All Irish do speak English though they may choose not to do so. Maybe a young child who only spoeaks Irish at home would not know English but you won't find a full grown Irishman who doesn't.

Truth said...

LMAO! The "Mexican Leadership" thread a few back turned into a "black folks" thread, now the "Gaelic Cop" thread has too!

And you geniuses are constantly wondering why the media loves black people so much

Anonymous said...

When I was a kid we'd go to my Irish great-grandfather's house where the older adults spoke Gaelic. We couldn't understand what they were saying but that was okay because it was a very 'Victorian' house and children were definitely seen and not heard.

Anonymous said...

Hey,

I just read your review. It made me want to watch the movie. I go to Netflix like anybody would and what do I find? 'Not available'.

This is disappointing to say the least. Maybe I missed it in your review, perhaps you could write something like, 'in art house theaters' or 'available on streaming from netflix'. It gives me a clue as to whether I am going to have to wait until it gets to the back of beyond (here) or I can watch it immediately.

Thanks,
Don

Anonymous said...

Love the review (and your site), but I must quibble: the language is called "Irish"; "Gaelic" generally refers to the (related) language of Scotland

slumber_j said...

"It would be cool to have your own secret language."

You can ask the Catalans about that, or the Basques. Just don't try doing it in Spanish--despite the fact that they all speak it...

Baloo said...

This is your lucky day, Steve — I've made a secret language just for you HERE

Gordon Walker said...

I am a white anglo-saxon protestant who has holidayed in the area and I can assert that no Erse speaker would be so rude!

Get Off My Lawn said...

Tens of millions of people in the US do have their own secret language through which they can communicate totally outside of the awareness of the media, the government, the middle and upper class and the lower class descendants of slaves whose neighborhoods they're taking over.

Spanish is hardly a secret language. It's spoken as a first language by roughly 390 million people around the world and as a second language by many more, including many members of "media, government," etc. Just because you don't speak Spanish doesn't mean that no non-Hispanic Americans do. In contrast, Irish is close to being a secret language because even most Irish don't speak it, let alone anyone else in the world.

Did you ask for directions with an English accent? :) All Irish do speak English though they may choose not to do so.

I find this type of behavior infuriating. It's common among Montrealers, nearly all of whom speak English but many of whom will stubbornly or even rudely refuse to speak it with tourists, even when the tourist is clearly American, not English Canadian. I do speak French and generally use it in Montreal, but not everyone can do so.

It's the pettiness of it that gets to me. So your language has been largely (French) or entirely (Irish) trumped by English in the world at large. That's not the fault of the innocent tourist, and anyway people who are sore losers are never very likable.

Anonymous said...

the language is called "Irish"; "Gaelic" generally refers to the (related) language of Scotland

You're wrong. "Irish" is the English word for what the Irish (or Gaelic) speakers call Gaeilge. You might as well say that "Scottish generally refers to the language of Scotland".

Both Irish and Scottish are Gaelic languages, the Scot's being descendents of Irish settlers.

Anonymous said...

I just read your review. It made me want to watch the movie. I go to Netflix like anybody would and what do I find? 'Not available'.

Netflix is pretty crappy when it comes to streaming ANY new releases. They expect you to get the DVD. But even if they were better at it, they would not have a movie which is still in the cinema.

stari_momak said...

Ha, my parents were driving in Galway in the mid 1990s and came across a group of school kids. They had to ask directions -- and the 9-11 year olds didn't speak English either. Good for them.

stari_momak said...

Don Cheadle, 'Skip Gates', and really confounding the "whitey is the root of all evil" narrative.

Anonymous said...

Anybody ever notice that lots of blacks are scared to go into Irish neighborhoods in Boston?

Kylie said...

"Don Cheadle, 'Skip Gates', and really confounding the 'whitey is the root of all evil' narrative."

Yes, the Chickasaw Nation really acted stupidly, didn't it?

(I almost didn't recognize Skip Gates without his tricycle under him.)

Mac said...

"
The man you asked for directions probably could speak English. :)

All native Irish can speak English."

Heh. My grandma was raised on the Aran Islands in the 1910s and '20s, yet she still spoke English. With all due respect Steve, sounds like he just didn't want to speak English with you ;)

Steve Sailer said...

That happens to Don Cheadle in the movie. The locals don't want to talk to a nosy black American policeman, so they pretend to only speak Gaelic.

Anonymous said...

My father's parents spoke German but would not allow my father to study it. He'd buy German language books and they would throw them out.

When he went to college he learned German pretty well through books and records and talking to the German exchange students. When he went back home he would hear his parents talk back and forth but kept a straight face and pretended to not understand. He did, however, steal and hide his mother's family Bible, which was in German.

She noticed it missing a couple of years later. He had by then graduated college and was living outside the house. When she asked him what had happened, he replied in serviceable German that there was a German-book thief in the house who lived in the attic apparently.

Neither parent would talk to him for years after that. The Bible was returned when the parents admitted their theft and apologized.

Anonymous said...

Will Sailer review Rise of the Planet of the Apes?

Here's a preview.

http://www.todaystmj4.com/multimedia/videos/?bctid=1094918901001

CF Pupper said...

http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/36751

Help.

Columnist said...

It is indeed cool to have your own secret language. You can develop one yourselves.
www.conlang.org