Wednesday, February 04, 2009

In Bruges

Shoot first. Sightsee later.

While a very funny tagline, it sets up the expectation that In Bruges is a comedy. The trailer does the same thing. Even though it has moments -- many moments -- of funny spurts formed from context and great dialogue, In Bruges is not a comedy. But it's a delight, and sort of sad. And its three leads are in some of their best work.

Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) are two hitmen who are told to go to Bruges, Belgium and lay low until they receive instructions from their boss, Harry (Ralph Fiennes). Ken is in love with Bruges, with its medieval buildings, charming streams, and outdoor cafes. Ray thinks it's the most boring of towns to be in, especially if he's far away from a pint. But while wandering in the street, he finds a movie company complete with midget and gorgeous girl. He gets mixed up with both of them, as well as her former boyfriend. And then Harry's instructions come down.

Much of the movie sets up Ken's and Ray's relationship, as one drives the other a little crazy in a town one loves and the other despises. As it turns out, their relationship is key to the story, a storyline I'd rather not reveal here.

Gleeson is always good, but shines here as the older hitman, the guy who's been doing this for a few years now. I've never seen Colin Farrell better, truer, than in his role as a hitman who screwed up his first hit and is paying for it. And Fiennes is scarier here than any He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Fiennes should have been nominated for his work in The Duchess, but his work in In Bruges is almost as good.

This is a crazy romp in a city that looks like it's been asleep for a thousand years. And it all comes together at the end in a heartbreakingly sudden ending.

Thumb's up.

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At 10:17 AM, Blogger Melinda said...

Hmmmm...sounds interesting, and I'm a big fan of Ralph Finnes - thanks for this one!


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