Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Review - In Bruges

Two hitmen, Ray and Ken are held up in the storybook city of Bruges, after a very disastrous job, awaiting word from their London boss Harry. With two very different opinions on the gothic and surreal city, the two men wait and begin to take in the sights of Bruges as normal tourists. Ray is distanced and frantic because of the bloodshed from their last job, Ken, however takes in the city's beauty and serenity while keeping a fatherly eye out on Ray and his irratic behavior. When Harry's call does finally come, the vacation is over for Ray and Ken.

I had heard nothing but great things about this film directed by Martin McDonagh prior to seeing it, and boy did it ever deliver. There was alot to like in this movie. The cast is superb, the dialogue is darkly comical and extremely witty, there is a great range of emotion that is surprisingly determental to the story, the pacing and development of the film are perfect, and the setting is absolutely stunning. In Bruges delivers on all levels.

In Bruges stars Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, and Ray Fiennes, and each one of them gives a oustanding performance that demands attention. Colin Farrell has never really impressed me, just seemed like a pretty face doing generic blockbuster work. Miami Vice, SWAT, The Recruit, Phone Booth, and Alexander were all terrible. Although, his more recent work in The New World, Ask the Dust, and Cassandra's Dream have been a nice change to the monotony. In Bruges stands above the rest, as his best work to date. Colin Farrell is hysterical and stirring as a haunted loud-mouthed irishman who hates Bruges and all of its history of cobblestone walkways, river canals, and gothic architecture. He also nails the more dramatic side of his role that weighs heavy on his heart, in spite of the ill fated job. The delivery on his dialogue is also top notch and done with the greatest of ease. Hearing his native irish accent made his role feel natural when all is said and done. Simply put, Colin Farrell is likable in this film, something he has previously never done for me.

Brendan Gleeson and Ray Fiennes are also unblemished throughout the film. Gleeson as Ken, the fatherly figure to Ray is very moving and downright comical at points. The scene where the two them fight about sight-seeing, reminded me of an eager father dragging his unwilling son to see the churches and canal-ways of Bruges. Their dialogue is filled to the brim with laughs. When Ken tells Ray, "your acting like a kid whose dropped his sweets," Farrell's look is absolutely hysterical, just like a bored or stubborn child. I also love the fact that Ray, deems Ken's beer, "gay." Ray Fiennes gives a yet another amazing performance as the London boss. His dialogue is some of the best in the film. His explaination to the small time crook who has been shot in the eye by a blank is priceless. Furthermore, his scenes with Gleeson are very memorable and some of the best dialogue i have heard this year.

The dialogue and script for In Bruges are oustanding. There are countless scenes that are extremely witty and keep you smiling throughout. There is never a dull moment within the 107 minute film. In Bruges flows very well and seems to develop seemlessly right before the viewer eyes in the gripping backdrop of Bruges in Belgium. The finale of the film is very good and reminds us that we, like Harry said, "have to stand by our principles." Eventhough the film is dark and very comical, it still delivers in heart and sustenance. I loved this film and look forward to watching it again and again.