I was planning on seeing a movie this weekend that I though would be bad because they are so much more fun to write about; maybe something like “Jumper”. That can’t be good, right? But I was out of town most the weekend so my choices were limited to something after 10 pm. “In Bruges” was it.
When I saw a trailer for this movie, I wasn’t sure what to make of it until the end. At first I thought it would be one of those independents that claim to be all cool but just turn out to be a wanna-be of something else. But when the trailer was over, I thought, “Huh. A black comedy about two Irish hit men that get sent to Bruges, Belgium by their boss after a job goes bad and then things get complicated”. I was intrigued, because I like black comedy, and the Irish. I suppose those things go together fairly often, but sometimes without the comedy. They had a big famine, I get it. But I prefer the happy drunken Irish rather than the sad, brooding Irish. But that’s just me.
So, then when I heard a couple good things about it, I figured I’d take a chance. It stars Colin Farrell, who I often like, except for that stupid “Phone Booth” movie. Avoid that at all costs. “In Bruges” also stars Brendan Gleeson and Ralph Fiennes, who I generally tend to like, too.
Colin and Brendan play Ray and Ken, two Irish hit men sent to Bruges by their boss, Fiennes, after a job went bad. Ken is the older, almost paternal figure to Ray’s young upstart who is new to his profession. Ken finds Bruges beautiful and takes to sight-seeing immediately, while Ray can’t stop saying “It’s a shit hole!” Then Ray sees a dwarf – “Oh- their makin’ a film about midgets!” he says- and we’re off.
Ray meets a girl on the set of the film and their scenes are great- but don’t worry, it doesn’t get all bogged down with a squishy, sweet love story. There isn’t time.
Ray and Ken are sent to Bruges is because Ray is the one that botched the last job and their boss contacts Ken and tells him he has to kill Ray. Ironically, Ray is feeling guilt over the botched job because one of his stray bullets killed someone that wasn’t supposed to die. Yeah, I know. But this creates some touching human moments in the film.
And yet, this movie is still really funny. Keep in mind, it’s NOT politically correct. Nobody’s really safe here; short people, fat people, people of various ethnicities. It’s not mean-spirited, it’s just part of the characters personalities. Just suck it up, you babies.
The performances are just great all around. The story is also top notch, with some amazing dialogue and a few twists and turns. There’s even some great action. It’s got pretty much everything, even references to artist Hieronymus Bosch. Not many films can say that, which is just as well. It’d be real hard to work the paintings of Bosch into a Disney movie, let alone the name ‘Hieronymus’.
And the end is totally satisfying, too. I loved this movie. It’s the first feature written and directed by Martin McDonagh. I think marketing and word-of-mouth will be the only way this movie gets seen. I have a feeling it will be one of those seldom seen gems.
Ok, folks, see you in line for popcorn. Or not.