Movies In Bruges (Review and Spoilers)


Film Elitist
It's been awhile since I've seen a decent dark comedy and I was wondering when one would come about again. Well look no further than IN BRUGES.

This is the type of movie that could make you laugh and cry in the same two hours. It's humor bounces off of it's tragic course of events with a few great scenes of situational comedy and unfortunate drama.

Of course the setting takes place in what is considered Belgium's culturally richest city, Bruges. Strangely enough I can find myself on the same page with Ray (Colin Farrell) being that Bruges doesn't have that much to offer but tediously climb the Belfort belfry, admire the view, have a few chocolates and get pissed on all the beers. Ray's lament in the city is quite on the level, especially if you've been to Bruges. Don't get me wrong, it's a lovely place for a visit but Ray has been sent there to wait in hiding. Who is he hiding from? Well, apparently he's hiding from the person who sent him there, Harry (Ralph Fiennes).

To him, hiding feels like exile as he resentfully wanders through the streets of Bruges with his friend Ken (Brendan Gleeson). The two hitmen mosey through the architecturally gothic city as Ken rather enjoys the fruits of site seeing while Ray adamantly refuses to enjoy himself. Ray is quite the entertaining site; insulting and assaulting tourists, hitting on pretty women by telling them he kills priests and children, doing cocaine with a midget and so forth. I happen to be a sucker for the Irish temper and accent especially when it's on the grounds of comedy. The situational humor brings out the best gags and always returns the jokes to deliver a good payoff.

Despite being plagued by his guilt, Ray has no problem joking about it with Chloe (Clemence Poesy) a new romantic interest he clumsily attempted to court and yet somehow she accepted. When it comes to courtesy, Ray has little grasp of the concept though it seems to take him in more of a positive (or at least humorous) direction than you'd expect. His luck carries a double-standard as the 3rd law of physics demonstrates for every action there is equal, opposite one; he's attempted to be robbed by Chloe's ex after taking her out to dinner, his best friend tries to kill him the same time he puts a gun to his own head and he's forced back to Bruges when the Canadian tourist spots him on the train. In fact it could count for him being in Bruges to begin with; if he hadn't shot that priest so many times he wouldn't have hit that boy.

As they glance at a few oil paintings they arrive at the topic of life hereafter death. Purgatory was mentioned at one point and how fitting because that's what Bruges is to Ray. He awaits to hear his decided fate from Harry, who could be equaled with the reaper in a sense, in what he considers an extremely detestable place where the impression is that everyone else has a delightful time except him. Everything Ray does has a catch or backfires, his friends become enemies and he can't leave. It's his living Purgatory until death or redemption.

IN BRUGES sets up a classic scenario using multi-dimensional and hilarious characters; characters you wouldn't expect to see in this scenario. When they are engaged in conversation the camera is poised in particular angles that emphasize the motive or emotion. Whenever on Ray the angle is usually at or below eye level and it speaks on his behalf. He is a tragic character but we still looking up to him and we can empathize with Ray deeply even though he is a bastard of a person. Whenever Harry says anything that asserts what he believes to be his infallible principles long-angle lenses are used putting the focus completely on him leaving little depth of field in the background. It puts him directly in your face and forces his dialogue on you.

The first time I saw this I thought this was a noir film without the look, but then that's just nonsensical. IN BRUGES is a quaint situational comedy with extraordinary situations and characters thrown into the mix and it mixes quite well.

For the record if you ever happen to be traveling through Europe and visit the city of Bruges, take the tour of the belfry, try the Brugse Zot beer... Then get the hell out.
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Registered Member
Great review. I loved this movie. It caters to a range of humours. I went with 2 friends and we all have very different tastes in movies and humour, and this one kept us all entertained.