In Bruges

In Bruges

In Bruges (2008)

Hit men Ken and Ray are sent to a bed-and-breakfast in Bruges to lay low and await orders after a job goes horribly wrong.

Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) are hiding out in Bruges after a botched job has tragic consequences.  While awaiting orders, Ken takes in the sights and make the most of the down time in the idyllic Medieval town.  Ray searches out the nearest pub and hates every moment of the banishment until he falls for a girl working on a movie set, who is able to get him coke and the chance to watch a movie about a dwarf.  When the orders from above come, though, things take a dark turn, forcing everyone to take a good hard look at themselves and their own morality (and mortality).

Colin Farrell shines in this film.  His dour demeanor upon arriving in Bruges and the easy way with which he seeks out a couple pints, a woman and an equally grumpy midget (he prefers dwarf) to convalesce with is a tour de force.  Brendan Gleeson is equally strong as the calm center of the storm swirling about them.  Ralph Fiennes arrives on the scene later, as their employer, but delivers a gripping portrayal of a man grappling with his own conflicted moral code.  That’s the serious side of the film.  It is equally funny and does a tremendous job of walking the fine line that so many “dark comedies” fail to navigate.  It never takes itself too seriously, but it never goes off the rails and becomes a caricature, either.  Farrell deserves an additional tip of the cap here for a moving performance – it’s not often that the comic relief of a film can bring the viewer to the verge of tears with his tragic fate, but Farrell does it and makes it look easy.

This is an all-around great film, buoyed with great performances and an expertly crafted story.  At times funny, poignant, intense, and though-provoking, this twisted tale proves that there are still some great movies out there.

 

Stars: 4.5/5

 

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