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
When Ray is sitting on the bed removing his shoes in the hotel room he is doing so in semi-darkness because Ken told him to turn off the lights. Ray's face was covered in darkness and was lightened (edited) in an odd way. The oval of light can be seen on Ray's face and doesn't track very well. 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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What drove me to seeing 'In Bruges' in the first place was primarily great actors like Brendan Gleeson and Ralph Fiennes, and also for the concept and Bruges itself.
'In Bruges' is definitely not for all tastes, one can say that for a lot of films but 'In Bruges' is one of the more extreme examples. It is very foul mouthed with an extreme profanity laden script, is very uncompromisingly violent and its political incorrectness will put the easily offended and the faint hearted off. Three reasons not to see it if all this bothers you. It didn't bother me much though (having seen plenty of films with those approaches that still manage to be great). Neither did on the most part the ridiculousness that 'In Bruges' has been criticised for.
What is meant by "on the most part"? 'In Bruges' weakest element, from a storytelling standpoint and for the film in general, is the ending. This to me was the only part of the film that went over the top on the ridiculousness to overblown proportions, and it just felt contrived and running out of ideas in feel.
Carter Burwell's music score is a well written and quite lovely one on its own. Within the film and its mood though, it didn't fit however and juxtaposes too much in terms of tone.
However, the performances are very good, excellent in the case of Gleeson (as always) and Fiennes having tons of fun as his sinister character. Wasn't expecting acting this good from Farrell, this is the best he's ever been and he is successful in providing an interesting character that was intended to be morally complex and not likeable. It's the relationship between Farrell and Gleeson that drives the story and drama, it was essential to the film's success and manages to be entertaining, affecting and thought-provoking,
Photography is both gritty and beautiful, with a clear sense of style and atmosphere. Bruges not just looks wonderful, it also is treated like a character of its own quite rightly.
Similarly successful is the script, which is surprisingly intelligent with a strong balance with thought-provoking philosophical musings, very funny black comedy and character moral complexity (not making the characters likeable but it was clear early on that the intent was for them never to be so) . The story absorbs and entertains, with the brutal holds no prisoners violence not feeling gratuitous, the central relationship being beautifully written and the despair and redemptions themes being surprisingly poignant.
Overall, very good if understandably polarising. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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