In Bruges

In Bruges

***1/2

Reviewed by: Tony Sullivan

Two Irish hitmen are lying low in Bruges, Belgium, after the less-than-successful results of Ray's (Colin Farrell) first assignment. Ken (Brendan Gleason), the more experienced assassin, must keep his exuberant charge sane and calm in a town that Ray describes as, "If I grew up on a farm and was retarded, Bruges might impress me."

Complications arise when a call comes through from disgruntled boss, Harry (Ralph Fiennes), that will fundamentally change their lives.

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A study of fish-out-of-water, or maybe Irishmen-out-of-Guinness, this comedic and profane tale of not-so-cold-blooded killers seems to be the fusion of two movies, a very funny buddy comedy and a ruthless gangster thriller. In fact, one is disappointed when the serious stuff kicks in, because we know horrible things will transpire.

Aside from the idyllic Bruges scenery, a parade of esoteric characters interacts with our boys. Jordan Prentice is part of a movie crew making a surreal dream sequence and his lack of stature draws the attention of Ray who then makes the acquaintance of crew member, Chloe (Clemence Poesy).

Also deposited in this very Irish stew are a number of American tourists, Chloe's bitter ex-boyfriend, a church custodian with no sense of humour, a weapons supplier with a penchant for alcoves and the odd prostitute.

The core of the movie is the relationship between the two men, beautifully realized by Gleeson and Farrell, with dead-on dialogue from writer/director Martin McDonagh that is funny and offensive at the same time. A three week rehearsal period obviously paid off for the onscreen chemistry and one hopes that another project might be found for them.

The film is delightfully free of the frenetic camera work and digital colour enhancement that is annoyingly in vogue at the moment and will be embraced by fans of Snatch and Sexy Beast as a worthy addition to the genre.

Reviewed on: 23 Jan 2008
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Amber Wilkinson ***

Director: Martin McDonagh

Writer: Martin McDonagh

Starring: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes, Jordan Prentice, Clémence Poésy, Eric Godon, Ciaran Hinds, Zeljko Ivanek

Year: 2008

Runtime: 107 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: UK, Belgium


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