Jul 20, 2010

In Bruges

I know I am woefully behind the bandwagon, stumbling as I run, out of breath as I wave my arms calling, "wait, I like this movie too..." The cart rattles on, down a cobbled street in a fairy tale town, too far ahead for me to catch up. 

I don't care though. I am still going to review In Bruges. I have to. 'It's what I do.'

All Colin Farrell-appreciation aside, this was a fantastic movie. It was brilliant choice to write the character Ray (Farrell) as somewhat childish. It was a good way to contrast his character with the older, wiser hit man, Ken (Brendan Gleeson). It was a good way to highlight the conflict he felt, having killed an innocent. It was a funny and clever way to illustrate his loathing of Bruges, Belgium. He has no interest in sight seeing, whines and complains, manipulates Ken into taking him out when Ken wants to stay in and read. The beauty of old buildings and gory art are all lost on him. He scuffles his feet and makes noise on purpose in an old church. He is not awed, but bored; as bored as a ten year old boy being dragged with his family through cultured sights when all he wants to do is go to the hotel pool. Very cleverly done. Farrell pulls it off, but just barely. There were a few moments when it felt like acting; when the mood was broken by an off line or facial expression, but that is getting nit-picky. I loved the scene in the hotel when he was bargaining with Harry (Ralph Fiennes) about where they should try to shoot each other. I also loved his child-like fascination with midgets. He was innocently enthralled, and that was so perfect for his character.

There were a few "Seinfeld" shticks that didn't work for me. The Canadian man Ray hits in the restaurant finds him on his train out of Bruges and has him arrested. The tower where Ray and Ken want to shoot each other in private is closed because a tourist (a fat man Ray tried to convince the day before not to go up all the stairs) has suffered a heart attack in the tower. These are minor details, and I can see how they fit into the story, so I think I'm letting them off the hook.

At the risk of gushing, I will just say that the acting was great all around. Ralph Fiennes was cold-blooded, but also humorous. The scenes with Jimmy (Jordan Prentice) managed to be tasteful while also exploiting midget humor. It is possible, after all.

I am finding it difficult to categorize this film because the dark was somewhat removed from the humor, and it wasn't overwhelmingly a comedy. Part of its charm is that it defies classification. It was compositionally tight. It felt organized and meaningful.

A fine film; entertaining, emotional, touching and fun-ish.


  1. I liked this too. This movie and the Nicolas Cage BAD LIEUTENANT are both movies with stories that genuinely surprised me.

  2. I also really liked this film. The acting blew me away. It was the first Colin Farrell film I had ever seen and I had no idea he was such an exceptional actor! I agree with all points of this review. Excellent film!


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