Movie Review: In Bruges

It's 'Incredibly Strange'. Just trust us...

Dennis suggests In Bruges (in Incredibly Strange).  First off, let’s answer the question of, “why is this movie in the Incredibly Strange section?”  The correct answer is “because we said so- get the hell over it”.  The secondary, yet still compelling answer is, “well, it is the story of two hitmen who, after a job goes really wrong, get sent by their boss to the picturesquely dull titular Belgian city and soon riddle the quaint streets with blood, drugs, pithy gangster dialogue, and other non-chamber-of-commerce–recommended shenanigans.  And also there’s an angry dwarf.  (Oh, and, yeah, The Mexican is in the Incredibly Strange section too, and there’s nothing you can do about it).”  In Bruges takes its place in the usually-fun modern British gangster/black comedy genre (think Sexy Beast, Snatch, Gangster #1, Love, Honour and Obey, I Went Down, etc), with the requisite ordinary bloke banter by humourously-quirky tough guy types punctuated by gunshots, stylish photography, and unexpected violent tone

"Just be Irish! That's where people like you already!"

changes, and that place is right around the top as far as I’m concerned.  Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell are Ken and Ray, exiled to the touristy town of the title by their boss Harry (played with welcome hammy menace by Ralph Fiennes).  Ken is middle-aged, experienced, and avuncular, and he’s happy to sit in cafes, do some sightseeing of the medieval buildings, and wait for Harry’s call.  Ray is young, excitable, reckless and bored out of his skull and soon runs afoul of American tourists, Canadian tourists, the police and that angry dwarf.  Along the way, the backstory is revealed, lending shades to the pair and deepening the proceedings toward the inevitably tragic and violent conclusion.  Gleeson (see him in The General, and I Went Down…no, seriously, see those movies) is, as ever, outstanding- moving, funny, and utterly believable and Farrell matches him every step as the desperate, tortured, yet irrepressible Ray.  Man, Farrell needs to stop being American, embrace his inner Irishman and just be himself, because he’s a revelation in this scruffy little story where he gets to let his innate charisma and star power come through.  Seriously, Colin, we already have plenty of action movie prettyboys in America- just be weird and funny,  and stop plucking your awesome, muppet-y eyebrows, you’re so much better.

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Published in: on July 5, 2009 at 2:18 am  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Avuncular!


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