In a dystopian near future, single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods.
London based hit men Ray and Ken are told by their boss Harry Waters to lie low in Bruges, Belgium for up to two weeks following their latest hit, which resulted in the death of an innocent bystander. Harry will be in touch with further instructions. While they wait for Harry's call, Ken, following Harry's advice, takes in the sights of the medieval city with great appreciation. But the charms of Bruges are lost on the simpler Ray, who is already despondent over the innocent death, especially as it was his first job. Things change for Ray when he meets Chloe, part of a film crew shooting a movie starring an American dwarf named Jimmy. When Harry's instructions arrive, Ken, for whom the job is directed, isn't sure if he can carry out the new job, especially as he has gained a new appreciation of life from his stay in the fairytale Bruges. While Ken waits for the inevitable arrival into Bruges of an angry Harry, who feels he must clean up matters on his own, Ray is dealing with his own ...Written by
The screenplay for this film was featured in the 2006 Blacklist; a list of the "most liked" unmade scripts of the year. See more »
When Harry and Ken first meet at the outdoor cafe, neither one ordered a drink, but a waiter brings over two glasses of beer. See more »
After I killed them, I dropped the gun in the Thames, washed the residue off me hands in the bathroom of a Burger King, and walked home to await instructions. Shortly thereafter the instructions came through. "Get the fuck out of London, youse dumb fucks. Get to Bruges." I didn't even know where Bruges fucking was.
It's in Belgium.
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A European film through and through, showing its deep theatrical roots, "In Bruges" works on may levels, and is a fine night at the cinema.
The film follows the denouement of a "job" gone bad for two Irish hit men, who are forced to hole up in Bruges, Belgium, and really can't stand the inactivity. The forced waiting, a symbolic purgatory in both assassins' struggle for absolution, gives Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell a chance to act through some marvelous comic dialogue.
The film itself looks like it was filmed in an area of the old city of Bruges that is no more than a 500 square metre radius. It doesn't matter, because the film is a character study more than anything, and like all good theatre, the character interplay allows the audience to forget the confined spaces.
Ralph Fiennes comes into the film late basically stealing Ben Kingsley's character from "Sexy Beast". This has to be an absolutely deliberate choice, so can't really be criticized. The writing is so good that Fiennes can have real fun with it. All the actors do, as a matter of fact.
I have been deeply suspicious of Colin Farrell's ability to read a script in the past. His choices of projects in the past has been spotty. Not this time: his acting ability is brought to the fore by director and screenwriter Martin McDonagh. Farrell gives a very strong performance as a morally challenged hit-man.
Brendan Gleeson has been around forever, and is a renowned character actor. You may remember him from "Braveheart" as Hamish Campbell, Mel Gibson's loyal adjutant. He is able to completely bury himself in this part. Colin Farrell has the capacity to reach these heights as well, and in fact, in this film, shows many of the mannerisms and intensity of Russell Crowe (whom I consider to be the best actor on the planet).
I appreciated the comedy and satire working hand in hand with the moral complexity of the characters' inner struggles. It makes for a very satisfying film, one that is much more than entertainment. When you consider what the budget was in comparison to many Hollywood films, "In Bruges" serves as a reminder that it is the script and the quality of the direction that makes a film. Why Hollywood thinks they can just throw money into a project and expect people to come to the cinema is beyond me.
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