Cast: Colin Farrell, Ralph Fiennes, Brendan Gleeson, Jordan Prentice, Clemence Poesy
Director: Martin McDonagh
Screenplay: Martin McDonagh
Rated: MA 15+ Strong violence, coarse language and drug use
Released: 4 Sep 2008
Running Time: 108 Minutes
Shoot first. Sightsee later.
Bruges (pronounced "broozh"), the most well preserved medieval city in the whole of Belgium, is a welcoming destination for travellers from all over the world. But for hit men Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson), it could be their final destination; a difficult job has resulted in the pair being ordered right before Christmas by their London boss Harry (two-time Academy Award nominee Ralph Fiennes) to go and cool their heels in the storybook Flemish city for a couple of weeks.
Ray (Colin Farrell) is a trainee hitman who makes a big stuff-up with his first hit. He is sent to Bruges in Belgium with his partner Ken (Brendan Gleeson), to cool off by their boss Harry (Ralph Fiennes). Ray and Ken think they are there for 2 weeks but subsequent events change the plans, which ultimately involves Harry arriving in Bruges from London to sort out a few problems. There are also a few sub-plots involving an actor dwarf (Jordan Prentice) and Chloe (Clemence Poesy), a love-interest for Ray.
The very Irish Ray is especially negative about his time in Bruges. He complains from the moment he and Ken arrive - declaring time and time again that "Bruges is a shithole", whilst Ken decides to use the time to explore Bruges and become the conventional tourist, consequently giving Bruges a free ride as a new travel destination.
In Bruges is a kind of buddy movie where the two main characters are poles apart, yet they have common ground to keep them together (in this case being hitmen). Ken becomes the father-like figure for Ray who is struggling with some of the emotional aspects of his first killing, gently trying to guide him. This is where some of the more tragic moments are introduced which act as a counter-balance to some of the more outrageous comedic moments.
All three leading roles are played so well. Colin Farrell is perfect as Ray, and we even get to see him display some strong emotion as well as offer up some quick, droll lines. As Ken, Brendan Gleeson is the ideal offsider to Ray - experienced, wiser and resigned. Ray Fiennes plays the frustrated boss Harry as a simmering volcano ready to explode with a hint of instability constantly lurking.
There is copious swearing used, so don't even bother seeing this movie if you are easily offended with coarse language - the "F" word and its derivatives are said 126 times in this 108-minute film, an average of 1.18 "F" words per minute - enough said! A few brutally violent scenes also add to the intense nature and atmosphere.
With sharp and witty dialogue, In Bruges is a very clever and original movie that brilliantly combines tragedy and comedy. It freely abandons all the rules about political correctness, thanks to writer and director Martin McDonagh. This lack of restrictions is refreshing and often hilarious making In Bruges unique, distinctive and well worth seeing.
Rating : ****