In Bruges


Directed by: Martin McDonagh
Written by:Martin McDonagh
Starring: Colin Farrell, Brendan Fleeson, Ralph Fiennes, Clemence Poesy, Eric Godon
Released: September 4, 2008
Grade: B-

Ray (Farrell) and Ken (Gleeson) are two hit-men who are have fled London after a botched job.  Their boss has put them up in a hotel in Bruges, a small city in Belgium.  He’s booked the room for two weeks and has told them to sit tight.  He’ll call them shortly with further instructions.

To pass the time, these two guys go sightseeing.  Bruges is a beautiful city and there are a lot of old-style buildings to see.  In the centre of town you can find the Church of Our Lady.  It was a built in the 13th Century and has a 122m high tower that visitors can climb.  The views are amazing.

Wait a minute.  Is this a movie we’re watching or is it a travel show?  These thoughts were running through my mind during the first half of the film.  Don’t worry.  There is a purpose to these early scenes.  By following Ray and Ken around the streets of Bruges, we learn a lot about them.  They’re polar opposites and you’ll have a few laughs over their differing opinions on the city of Bruges.

The film moves in a different direction when their boss finally calls from London.  He has instructions that will have a significant impact on their “holiday”.  I won’t say anything else because that’s unfair on writer-director Martin McDonagh.  Whilst his film is a little rough around the edges, I like how McDonagh keeps a few details from the audience.  These characters are not as straight forward as you might think and you’ll have to keep watching to find out more.

Both Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson give strong performances.  They share some great scenes and their long, argumentative conversations were certainly a highlight.  In contrast, the plot is pretty thin.  I was looking for more substance and there were elements to the plot (which I can’t go into) which felt over-the-top.  The final scene is worth hanging around for though.

In Bruges is rated MA and deserves that rating for its strong violence.  For the most part, the film is a crowd pleaser but there are a few brief moments which will bother some moviegoers.  Heed the warning.