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In Bruges

August 8, 2013

In Bruges (2008)
Director: Martin McDonagh
Actors: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes

In Bruges

Synopsis: Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) are two Irish assassins lying low in Bruges after a hit by Ray went tragically wrong. While awaiting further instructions from their volatile boss Harry (Ralph Fiennes), Ray and Ken bicker over Ray’s boredom with Bruges’ quiet historical serenity and Ken’s interest in the city’s sightseeing offerings. Harry’s eventual instructions to Ken, and subsequent visit himself to Bruges, throws all the assorted characters together for a climactic, violent conclusion.

Review: This is a likeable, ramshackle of a movie that gives the impression, in a good way, that it was made up on the fly. It’s almost the ultimate writer-genre exercise, whereby Martin McDonagh seemingly plucked a location and scenario out of the hat, and concocted a narrative from those arbitrary beginnings. Thus, it’s really a writer’s film, with the dialogue especially to the fore, and McDonagh succeeds in finding a quasi-poetry in the profane. Ralph Fiennes, in particular, absolutely revels, being the classy technical actor that he is, in his Essex gangster role, dropping his aitches, and giving his character that classic Estuary nasality. In a way, it taps into Ben Kingsley’s iconic role in Sexy Beast, but it’s more than just a replication of that turn, but a strangely compelling, and, dare I say it, warm performance too. Colin Farrell does great work as well. Although perhaps once or twice he’s almost trying too hard to be funny, as if he’s not trusting in the lines or that he’s such an innately interesting, charismatic performer anyway, but he, along with Brendan Gleeson, grounds the story fantastically.

McDonagh’s other success is in straddling that line between giving the movie just enough dramatic integrity, while also drawing attention to its postmodern machinations. In particular, there’s a great moment where Fiennes and Farrell’s characters bicker in the climactic scene in the hotel over the shootout logistics and etiquette. It really shouldn’t work, but it’s ever so funny. On third viewing, some of the fat person and midget jokes transmit as a touch obvious and drawn-out, but, they’re the very minor ‘miss’ portion amid the film’s high ‘hit’ ratio of gags. These are too innumerable to list in their entirety, but perhaps a rap-sheet of the best would include the “alcove” running joke and the pedantic tower guard who gets more than he bargained for when he tries to bully Harry. (August 2013)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jay permalink
    July 31, 2019 12:51 pm

    I get the impression that you don’t really enjoy watching movies.

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