Top positive review
105 people found this helpful
The Odd Couple
on February 15, 2008
Martin Mc Donagh's "In Bruges" proves at least one thing once and for all: Colin Farrell is a thoughtful, emotionally open, soon to do very great things on the screen, actor...something that anyone who has seen "Tigerland" and "Home at the End of the World" already knows despite evidence to the contrary: "S.W.A.T," "Alexander," "Miami Vice," etc. etc.
'If I'd grown up on a farm, and was retarded, Bruges might impress me. But I didn't, so it doesn't" says Ray (Farrell) to his fellow hit man, Ken (burly Brendan Gleeson): both sent to Bruges, Belgium to cool off after a bloody hit that unfortunately went woefully wrong.
This is McDonagh's first film as Director/Writer and it is evident that he has a great eye for detail both in the sparkling, smart-*ss dialogue as well as with the stunning visual vocabulary of movies. Bruges is a beautiful city: ancient, redolent of the many lives lived there with its cobblestone streets, masonry buildings and outdoor plazas. As such, staid, old lady of Belgium Bruges stands in vivid contrast to the Irish duo of middle-aged, seen-it-all, supposedly Gay, interested in the sights and history of the city Ken and the emotionally over-wrought, painfully sensitive Ray: nervous, anxious, wanting to party, sporadically breaking out in sobs...literally an open emotional wound desperate for succor, blatantly remorseful, seeking redemption in all the wrong places.
"In Bruges" roils over with goofy, silly dialogue (mostly spoken by Farrell who proves very adept at delivering it in droll, wry, ironic style) and profanity, violent bursts of gunfire, and jokes at the expense of dwarfs and Americans. Screenwriter McDonagh steers his odd couple Irishmen through a series of strange/odd situations in which questions of honor, friendship and mortality are mulled. The older Gleeson also proves to be the grounded one: good at what he does (that is kill people) and able, by his very presence to calm Ray down.
Ralph Fiennes is also on hand here and plays Ray and Ken's boss, a mean-spirited bloke who talks in Michael Caine-Cockney cadences and arrives in Bruges to make sure that a hit, assigned to Ken is carried out without fail.
"In Bruges" shares many of the surface traits of such films as Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction" but, though great as "Pulp Fiction" is, it doesn't have the heart and soul of Mc Donagh's "In Bruges": a film that satisfies the thriller/action genes of us all but also digs very deep below and reveals the true natures of its very conflicted, ultimately very human characters.