In Bruges

In Bruges

(2008)

Shootfirst first. Sightsee later.

Hitmen Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) have been ordered to relax in the medieval Belgian city of Bruges (pronounced 'broozh') by their boss Harry (Ralph Fiennes) to cool their heads for a couple of weeks after a difficult job.

They are both a bit out of place amidst the ancient architecture, canals, and cobbled streets; Ray hates the place but the fatherly Ken rather enjoys the beauty and serenity. But the longer they stay waiting for Harry's call, the more surreal their experience becomes, as they find themselves in weird encounters with locals, tourists, violent medieval art, a dwarf American actor (Jordan Prentice) shooting a European art film, Dutch prostitutes, and a potential romance for Ray in the form of Chloë (Clémence Poésy), who may have some dark secrets of her own.

Director McDonagh made Six Shooter, also starring Brendan Gleeson, which earned him the 2006 Academy Award for Best Live-Action Short Film.

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Flicks Review

Every once in a while we get a film that's hard to categorise, and this is one of them. In Bruges is a weird mix of bloody violence and situational comedy that occasionally provides a sombre meditation on mortality, and even functions as a picturesque travelogue to boot. And it works. An original, engaging screenplay is brought to life with terrific performances by Farrell and Gleeson, taking a few unpredictable twists and turns on its way to a cracker of an ending.

Ray (Farrell) and Ken (Gleeson) are two unassuming hitmen sent to the quaint Belgian town of Bruges to lie low after a job gone wrong. While their irate boss Harry (A vicious Ralph Fiennes) yells expletives down the phone line from London, they quietly explore the canals and cobbled streets, encountering everything from a dwarf to a beautiful French girl (Clémence Poésy), unaware that Harry has something big in store for them…

While he's usually the harbinger of a sub-par movie, Farrell is on top form here, giving his rookie Ray a big fidgety dose of ADD whilst still imbuing him with a loveable charm. Gleeson's Ken is a serene older presence and Fiennes is almost unrecognisable as a ratty gangster boss.

Some of the violence verges on ridiculous, but there's an eerie, slightly fantastical quality to the proceedings. Adding to the atmosphere is the brooding score by regular Coen Brothers collaborator Carter Burwell.

This is Irish playwright Martin McDonagh's first feature film, having previously helmed Oscar-winning short Six Shooter (Also starring Gleeson). His debut is a cleverly plotted, sharp-witted bit of entertainment, perfect to watch with a big crowd on a Friday night.



The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 9 ratings, 9 reviews
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Thanks for the helpful reviews: Flicks and D F Stuckey.

The movie drew me in with feeling and fairy tale despite the verbal and physical violence. The movie is full of ironic humour, such as a hit man saving his target, and flawed characters who are quite ironic in themselves because of those flaws. In this setting, the one flawless character - the pregnant woman - is like a fine jewel in a tawdry setting.

The movie would have been better to have drawn out the bored to death in Bruges theme... More before introducing death himself. I've seen deleted scenes on the DVD and several should have been kept in the movie. But I guess they wanted to hold onto the audience who couldn't be counted on to wait for the expected action (see PIC_NZ's comment).Hide


i thought this was very good. my friend and i saw it and laughed our heads off. extremely entertaining.


I always liked that Dorothy Parker line: You can lead a whore to culture... Travel is wasted on some people and with In Bruges we meet the ultimately unworthy tourist.

There are just so many levels to enjoy this movie. It's a must see.


Absolutely perfect. I cannot think of a single thing to criticise.



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The Press Reviews

82% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • An endlessly surprising, very dark, human comedy, with a plot that cannot be foreseen but only relished. Full Review

  • With In Bruges, the British gangster movie gets a Croydon facelift. It may not be new, but it’s a wonderfully fresh take on a familiar genre: fucked-up, far-out and very, very funny. Full Review

  • Mr. Gleeson, Mr. Farrell and especially the late-arriving and welcome Mr. Fiennes have great fun rummaging around inside Mr. McDonagh’s modest bag of tricks. Full Review

  • This finale, which piles one bloody absurd epiphany on top of another almost ad infinitum, is where McDonagh lays all his cards on the table -- and his characters are the ones who have to pay up. Full Review

  • Closer to pics like “The Hit” and “Miller’s Crossing” than to McDonagh’s bristling, funny plays, this half-comic, half-serious account of two Irish hitmen who are sent to the titular Belgian burg to cool their heels after a job is moderately fair as a nutty character study, but overly far-fetched once the action kicks in. Full Review