‘In Bruges’ Review: Oh Come On, Bruges Isn’t That Bad

Posted in The Screening Room by - January 02, 2015

The final installment of the Christmas Marathon was supposed to be A Christmas Story. Well I don’t know about you, but I’m fucking done with Christmas. I’m tired of the commercialism, the facade people put on, Santa Claus, all of it. So I’m going to write about something I truly love, and that is the Martin McDonagh masterpiece, In Bruges, starring Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, and Ralph Fiennes.

London based hitmen, Ray (Farrell) and Ken (Gleeson), are told by their employer, Harry Waters (Fiennes), to hide out in Bruges, Belgium after a job that lands an innocent child dead. This has a maddening effect on Ray as he slowly unravels to the point of attempting suicide. Harry later phones and informs Ken that Ray has to go, that accident or not, killing an innocent child will not be tolerated. This places Ken in quite the predicament where he will either kill his friend Ray, or disobey the order of Harry, a man who, we later find, he is indebted to.

Besides the film being set in beautiful Bruges, Belgium, the musical score by Carter Burwell is absolutely fantastic. The pervasive piano theme found in the opening credits and scene aide in the development of Ray’s character and the score enhances the fairytale qualities of Bruges.

In Bruges falls into a group of films that do not develop the following they deserve due to the fact that they’re foreign and don’t receive full releases here in the States. This is unfortunate because this is a fantastic film. The writing and story telling are artistful, the performances by Farrell, Gleeson, and Fiennes are magnificent, the musical score is beautiful, and despite Ray’s disdain, Bruges is not a “shithole”. 

The chemistry between two of Dublin’s finest actors is amazingly warm and amusing. The writing lends itself to dark humor, but the warm spirit of the Irish isn’t lost. Not to mention that most Americans are used to seeing these actors in non-British films so watching and listening to them in their normal accents may be a shocker. One of my favorite scenes happens at breakfast after Ken and Ray missed Harry’s call from the night before and it showcases their accents, their chemistry, and the humorous writing that McDonagh is known for.

In Bruges is a masterful tale of love and redemption that explores the human soul, national cultural influences, and racial influences. It flys under the radar, and I think that’s what makes this film truly fantastic. In fact, Harry Waters says it best, “It’s just a shame it’s in Belgium, really. But then you figure if it wasn’t in Belgium, if it was somewhere good, there’d be too many people coming to see it. It would spoil the whole thing.” This film could easily turn into the British equivalent of Fight Club, and if that happened I think I would hate it on principle.

Final Say: Watch It, But In Secret

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