Ken's Review: In Bruges - The Only Place to Visit This Weekend
by Ken Evans
February 4, 2008
One of my favorite films from 2007 was Black Snake Moan. While I didn't think it was Oscar worthy, it was still extremely enjoyable and underrated. I loved the characters and issues that it dealt with and still find myself recommending it to anyone that asks my opinion of last year's films. I mention that movie because In Bruges is probably going to turn out the same way. It's an extremely enjoyable film that will get overlooked and forgotten later in the year.
Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) work for Harry (Ralph Fiennes) as hitmen. After one of their hits takes a turn for the worse, Harry sends them both to Bruges, Belgium to hideout for a while and wait for his call. Bruges turns out to be a small town with not much to do other then sightsee or hang out at the local pub. Ken takes a liking to the village right away while Ray, still dealing with the failed hit, struggles with being stuck in such a small place with nothing to do. Finally, they receive the call from Harry with instructions that they aren't actually in Bruges hiding out but were sent there for other reasons entirely.
I have to give Colin Farrell props for his performance in this film. Looking at other movies he has been in I couldn't find one where I liked him that much. This was a huge surprise because I didn't just like his role in In Bruges, I loved it. He played a goofy, dim-witted, rude, loud-mouth hitman perfectly. At first he seems simple and shallow, but we quickly learn more about him and grow to care about the struggles he is dealing with.
Ralph Fiennes and Brendan Gleeson are so perfect for this movie. Gleeson has that quiet demeanor but can definitely come across as ruthless and dangerous. Ralph Fiennes is always good and is absolutely insane in this film. These two meet up around the end of the film and make for some great scenes together. They have a chemistry that makes even their wacky conversations seem realistic and plausible.
This is by no means an action film although there is a bit of action, especially near the end. This is more along the lines of Snatch or Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. In Bruges is filled with witty dialogue and hilarious situations. I definitely wasn't expecting to laugh as much as I did, but laughing is what I did for most of the film. The discussions back and forth between Ray and Ken were extremely funny. The scenes with Ray and the dwarf had me almost in tears. It was such a pleasant surprise to see a film that is alike in many ways to a Guy Ritchie film but isn't a copycat movie and actually holds its own.
The problem that most people will have with In Bruges is the jumping back and forth between comedy and more serious drama. Although the majority of the film is filled with clever dialogue and mixed with funny situations, there is also a serious side that adds depth to the characters and the story. In particular, there is an inner struggle that Farrell's character is going through. That struggle combined with some gruesome deaths might make mixing the comedy with death a bit awkward for some viewers. It never felt awkward to me, but I definitely see how some people might look at it that way.
This is my favorite film of the year so far. Not a perfect movie by any means but extremely enjoyable. I gave Cloverfield a higher rating because of the difficulty and immense amount of work that you could tell that was put into it. In Bruges, while not as technically outstanding as Cloverfield, is the type of movie I could watch over and over again. This is definitely the film to see this coming weekend.