Two Irish hit-men; Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) are sent by the Londoner mobster Harry Waters (Ralph Fiennes) to the medieval Belgium city of Bruges in Christmas to await further instructions after an awry job in a London church. While Ken enjoys the historic city, Ray feels completely bored and misses his home. Ray’s disposition changes when he meets Chloë (Clémence Poésy), a young woman who sells drugs on the local set of a movie. Meanwhile Harry, who has a stringent code of principles, gives Ken special orders.
An incredibly underrated dark comedy, In Bruges is one of the most memorable movies I’ve ever seen. With countless quotable lines, superb writing, brilliant acting and everything else that makes a good movie, it deserves more attention.
One of the main highlights of this movie is the writing, the writing is absolutely brilliant. This movie is a dark comedy and bounces between drama and comedy but what I’m impressed with is how the tone can change without feeling abrupt or forced. For example there is a moment where there is quite a funny scene but it suddenly changes to a serious tone and really grabs the audience’s attention. The tone somehow changes better than you might think it would. There are many lines of dialogue which are very quotable and that right there is a sign of good writing. There are only a few characters the film mainly focuses on but they are very fleshed out and all of them go through changes. One of the things that you have to know going in is that if you look at the poster and the trailer, you are starting to have an idea of what the movie is like. Whatever you are thinking of is not what the film is like at all; the trailer actually makes it look like a Guy Ritchie movie. Know that this is a dark comedy. Also know that the pace is slow, this isn’t a very plot driven movie and mostly follows Ray and Ken, before the second half when the plot starts picking up speed.
All the actors do a very good job. Colin Farrell gives the best performance of his career here. He has such good comedic timing (as did the rest of the actors) but his character also has some deep personal problems he is struggling with. Brendan Gleeson is also great here, providing the moral centre of the story and plays the straight man to Colin Farrell’s character. Ralph Fiennes was fantastic. This isn’t a spoil alert but you only really see Fiennes in the second half of the movie but in the second half, he really puts his talents to good use. The entire cast has many priceless moments, even some of the other cast, especially Jordan Prentice. He plays a dwarf who’s in town to act in a movie filming there. His ramblings in one scene, about a coming race war, are worth the price of admission alone. As I mentioned previously, all of the characters go through changes and all of the actors show this excellently.
Because the film is set 98% in Bruges, the scenery looks beautiful. The cinematography makes good use of this, taking opportunities to show a fantastic location amongst the humour and eventual violence. Also honourable is Carter Burwell’s score which really is well composed.
Overall, In Bruges is an underrated movie which should be noticed more than it has been. Outstanding performances as well as having one of the best written scripts make the movie absolutely fantastic. See it and experience one of the best dark comedies I have ever seen.