In Bruges
Heh, heh. I just farted. — Heh, heh. Me too.

Golden Mug


Best Original Screenplay (Martin McDonagh)

Theatrical Release Date: 02/08/2008
Director: Martin McDonagh
Cast: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes, Clémence Poésy, Jordan Prentice

If you were wondering when the next “Harry Potter” movie was going to come out, look no further than “In Bruges” … sort of. This tale stars not one, not two, but three members of the Potter franchise cast (Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes, Clémence Poésy).

However, there are no muggle jokes or wizardry to be found here. This is a surprisingly bloody, wickedly funny and well executed film.

Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson play two hitmen who are awaiting further instructions from their boss, Ralph Fiennes, in the quaint and picturesque town of Bruges, Belgium. Their chemistry is one of the major elements to the story and their performances are excellent.

Farrell’s character is a definite city-dweller with little appreciation for the small town charm of Bruges whereas Gleeson is more than happy to take in the sights and enjoy learning about the rich history of the area. Along the way, they meet up with a beautiful local (Clémence Poésy) and an American midget (excuse me … dwarf) in town to shoot a movie.

While many films of this genre might lose steam because of their inability to work in the supporting characters, writer/director Martin McDonagh does a wonderful job of creating a broader look at the situation as it unfolds. These “side” characters are actually more than just window dressing, as they help to flesh out the hitmen’s characters (Farrell in particular).

That’s not to say that the film isn’t fairly predictable. It’s quite obvious that at some point Ralph Fiennes will be forced to come to Bruges himself to sort out the situation. It’s clear that Poésy will fall for Farrell’s charms. It’s no surprise that there is an upcoming war between white and black midgets (sorry again … dwarfs).

Umm … wait. That last one isn’t so obvious (to me, at least). And that idea is but one of the many hilarious (and slightly offensive) bits of humor that pepper the film (dammit, now I’m hungry). Back to the point, what makes the humor work so well is how it contrasts with the fairly serious underlying story and how it also helps to connect the audience to the characters.

This is a movie about hitmen. They kill people for money. I doubt people would describe their profession as warm and fuzzy. And yet, there is a real feeling that should any of the cast be killed, it would be sad … no matter their previous transgressions.

Speaking of death, there are some rather brutal acts of violence here – reminiscent of “Hot Fuzz“. You should be able to stomach a little blood if you’re thinking of catching this flick. That being said, while most of it could be construed as disturbing, even more strange is that beating someone with the butt-end of a gun has rarely been funnier.

“In Bruges” works because it doesn’t let up when it comes to telling its story. If the scene calls for humor, it’s funny; for drama, it’s serious; for action, it’s bloody. All of the actors do an excellent job and the cinematography and direction frame all of the chaos amidst this quaint little town I’ll just have to visit now if I ever get to Europe. Also, the film ends exactly where it should end, there isn’t an extra ten minutes tacked on at the end to wrap things up for the slower people with their milk duds still stuck to the roofs of their mouths.

Adding up all of its virtues and subtracting for a overly brash score, I’m giving “In Bruges” a 4 out of 5. It’s a fun-filled and edgy work that helps me calm down about the worth of films these days when the box office is dominated by such dreck (Yeah, I’m talking to you Miley Hannah Ray Montana Cyrus. I hope my pre-pubescent idols weren’t so easily dismissed as fluff … what am I talking about? I still contend Charles is in charge).

Back to “In Bruges”, here’s a little trivia tidbit about Jordan Prentice’s first credited role. Wait for it … He was Howard the Duck!!! How awesome is that?!? The answer is awesomely. That is awesomely awesome. So if you’re in the mood for dark comedy with a little blood, see “In Bruges”. If you want cheesy 80s’ greatness, see “Howard the Duck” (especially revel in Lea Thompson’s hair, music and love scene with Howard).

And really, you should do yourself a favor and see both anyway. What else is there to do in February? Enjoy “Singles Awareness Day” (trademark pending) on the 14th? Pshaw. That’s just crazy talk.