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In Bruges

Action & Adventure and Comedy movie directed by Martin McDonagh

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The Psychic Isolation of Two Hit Men in Bruges

  • Jun 26, 2008
  • by
Martin McDonagh makes an impressive writing and directing debut with the very fresh and entertaining and surprisingly well rounded film IN BRUGES. Though the basic storyline is rather simple, McDonagh knows how to keep it turning and twisting with generous amounts of humor as well as probing character development. He has assembled a cast of very fine actors, turned the cinematography of the gorgeous Belgian city of Bruges over to the capable creative hands of Eigil Bryld, and finished his project off with a fine musical score by the gifted Carter Burwell (with a nod to Schubert and others): the result is a beautiful little film with messages galore and always a visual treat to see repeatedly.

Two hit men - Ken (Brendan Gleeson), a chubby, optimistic bloke who loves spending time with the sights of Bruges, and Ray (Colin Farrell), an emotionally distraught young man in the throes of guilt from a botched 'hit' that accidentally killed a young boy - have been sent by their 'boss' Harry (Ralph Fiennes) to 'lay low' after the botched murder of a priest (Ciarán Hinds). It is Christmas season and there are too few rooms available so Ken and Ray reluctantly share a tiny hotel room to await further orders from Harry. Ken falls in love with the beauty of the city of Bruges while Ray, ever anxious and distrustful, finds some solace in a film being shot about 'midgets' (Jérémie Renie) with behind the scenes girl Chloë (Clémence Poésy). How these two Irish guys make the most of their enforced isolation ultimately leads to the real reason for their assignment, a reason that includes a last 'hit' that sweeps the audience to a surprising ending.

McDonagh writes very well, giving some of the best comedic lines to Farrell who proves himself a fine fit for this difficult role. Yes, it is another 'hit man film', but this one has the good fortune to deal with very real people, conflicted with their choice of 'occupation' and who are hungry to share their tenuous lives with good friends. Though there is considerable bloody derring-do, the film uses the chase and kill scenes to good advantage, allowing the audience to feel the human side of those whose job it is to 'off' others. Both Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson are superb and their roles are enhanced by a choice selection of character actors who speed the plot along nicely. This is a very entertaining movie, one that can be appreciated on many levels, and one that suggests that Martin McDonagh has a solid future in cinema. Grady Harp, June 08

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More In Bruges reviews
review by . June 14, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
**** out of ****    Alfred Hitchcock once deemed it unwise to kill either a child or a dog in a movie. Well, this logic seems to have been abandoned, until now. Martin McDonagh's "In Bruges" has characters that seem to live by the words of the big man himself; starting with Ray (Collin Farrell), a hitman crippled by the guilt of having just recently killed a little boy in an accident. He was assigned to kill a priest, and so he did, but a few of the bullets evaded the target …
review by . November 23, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
After bungling their latest job, two London-based hitmen are sent to the much quieter city of Bruges, Belgium to await instruction. Ray is a cocky young gun, who can't relax and can't stand Bruges and can't wait to get away. Ken is older and wiser, and wishes he could stay longer to take in the atmosphere and history of this medieval city. Of course, initial impressions of this odd couple turn out to be incomplete, and things aren't going to work out quite like anyone wants, and the quaint city …
review by . September 21, 2009
... but I laughed out loud at the conscience-stricken killer's suggestion that it was a circle closer to Hell than Bruges. When I laugh out loud at a film I'm watching by myself -- and I did laugh out loud more than once -- that film automatically gets my five-star rating.    I'm not gonna waste a lot of college-seminar training on an exegesis of this flick. I take it to be a spoof of the genre, a totally tongue-in-cheek satire of fashionable amorality. Some reviewers have compared …
review by . August 26, 2008
Two hit men, Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) are on a sort of makeshift holiday in Bruges, Belgium after a hit gone wrong. While awaiting word from their boss, Harry (Ralph Fiennes), Ken is interested in sightseeing and the history of the place, while Ray couldn't be more unimpressed and can't wait to escape.    After hearing so many wonderful things about this film I was absolutely prepared to be let down. Movies rarely live up to the hype for me, but I am happy …
About the reviewer
Grady Harp ()
Ranked #97
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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The considerable pleasures ofIn Brugesbegin with its title, which suggests a glumly self-important art film but actually fits a rattling-good tale of two Irish gangsters "keepin' a low profile" after a murder gone messily wrong. Bruges, the best-preserved medieval town in Belgium, is where the bearlike veteran Ken (Brendan Gleeson) and newbie triggerman Ray (Colin Farrell) have been ordered by their London boss to hole up for two weeks. As the sly narrative unfolds like a paper flower in water, "in Bruges" also becomes a state of mind, a suspended moment amid centuries-old towers and bridges and canals when even thuggish lives might experience a change in direction. And throughout, the viewer has ample opportunity to consider whose pronunciation of "Bruges" is more endearing, Gleeson's or Farrell's. The movie marks the feature writing-directing debut of playwright Martin McDonagh, whose droll meditation on sudden mortality,Six Shooter, copped the 2005 Oscar for best live-action short. Although McDonagh clearly relishes the musicality of his boyos' brogue and has written them plenty of entertaining dialogue,In Brugesis no stageplay disguised as a film. The script is deceptively casual, allowing for digressions on the newly united and briskly thriving Europe, and annexing passers-by as characters who have a way of circling back into the story with unanticipatable consequences. That includes a film crew--shooting a movie featuring, to Ray's fascination, "a midget" (Jordan ...
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Director: Martin McDonagh
Genre: Action, Comedy, Adventure
DVD Release Date: June 24, 2008
Runtime: 107 minutes
Studio: Universal Studios
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