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.
Astronaut Sam Bell has a quintessentially personal encounter toward the end of his three-year stint on the Moon, where he, working alongside his computer, GERTY, sends back to Earth parcels of a resource that has helped diminish our planet's power problems.
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
"Bruges" is from the Flemish "Brugge," which is based on the Dutch word "Brug" meaning port or bridge. See more »
During one scene Chloe states "English humour" when referring to one of the Irish leads - but it seems unlikely she would know the difference, even though the characters were changed from English after casting. 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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One of the problems with seeing a trailer for a film is it creates an expectation. If it raises expectations, and the film delivers, great. However, if the film is less then expected, then the viewer feels cheated. The best case scenario is the one I found myself in before I saw In Bruges. Low expectations.
After seeing the trailer, In Bruges looked like a plodding British comedy with little originality and repetitious humor, hence the low expectations. Yet, In Bruges exceeded my minimal expectations, and, unlike my impression from the trailer, was an original drama with good acting and a nice blend of comedy mixed in. It was funny in the right places and appropriately dramatic when the story shifted into high gear towards the end.
Set in, no surprise here, Bruges, Belgium, the plot focuses on two London hit men, Ray played by Colin Farrell, and Ken, played by Brendan Gleeson. The pair is sent to Belgium after Ray botches his first hi. And therein lies the humor, Ray has no interest in being in the medieval city, and Ken wants to sight see.
I've never really liked Colin Farrell but who knew he had such a good sense of comedic timing? There is a running gag involving fighting with a bottle, and karate, that he manages to keep fresh as it pops up throughout the film. Brendan Gleeson's character provides the moral center and plays the straight man to Farrell's Ray. This works well as the movie turns more serious towards the end. However, for my money, the best performance is delivered by Ralph Fiennes who plays Harry the pair's criminal overlord back in London. Whereas Gleeson character embodies the moral center, Fiennes's Harry fills the role of principled immorality, if there is such a thing. Fiennes creates a character with a dubious moral center and is a quite believable figure of menace when he travels to Bruges to square off with Ken. Also, of note, is Jordan Prentice, an irritable dwarf who's in town to act in a movie filming there. His ramblings in one scene, about a coming race war, is worth the price of admission right there.
The only aspect of the film that didn't work for me was Ray's love interest. Early in the film he manages to woo Chloe, a drug dealer with, drum roll please, a heart of gold. For my tastes, the budding romance seems a little forced and comes across more as a vehicle for jokes and drama. But it's a small thing and I doubt anyone but me would notice.
I intentionally left a lot of plot points out, because, as I've mentioned, this film surprised me in a good way and I don't won't to ruin it for anyone else.
In Bruges is a good film. Go see it.
At the very least, it'll make you want to visit Bruges.
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