In Bruges (2008)

The first thing that threw me about In Bruges was the somber tone. That much I was not expecting. But leave it to Collin Farrell to change that by saying you’d have to be retarded to enjoy Bruges, and insulting a rotund American family. That got the ball rolling.

When trailers for In Bruges first started surfacing and I read the synopsis, I had absolutely no interest in it. I had written it off as a stupid movie with a terrible premise. Looking back now, I’m not sure why I did. It seems just the right amount of absurd dark comedy. And it ends on a cliffhanger! Tantalizingly frustrating.

The level of violence was to be expected, I was actually surprised it was as clean as it was. I’d had it in my mind that it was much more of a “shoot ‘em up”, high octane film than it was. I was not prepared for the depth it brought to the table.

Farrell is great as Ray, a less than intelligent brute hitman with a soft spot in his heart. Guilt-ridden, he can’t seem to put the errors of his ways behind him, and so Farrell’s charged with a bit of a difficult task – convey genuine heartbreak and torment while being a sarcastic, snarky asshole. He pulls it off flawlessly, and had me rolling on the floor one minute, and subtly choking up the next.

Brendan Gleeson is an eternal softy here, as Ken, mentor and pseudo-father figure to Ray. Attempting the role of great protector, with demons of his own, he offers a stoic counterpart to Ray’s edgy, tempestuous childishness. They balance each other out beautifully, and their chemistry is a joy to watch. Gleeson has moments of introspection, and he managed to make me cry in a film I hadn’t expected to touch me at all, beyond just my funny bone.

Ralph Fiennes is a real fucking cunt, who’ll always be a fucking cunt, and probably have more fucking cunt kids. Between Gleeson, Fiennes, and Farrell, this movie has far more profanity than gore, and it’s so much better for it. As the rampaging, raving lunatic boss Harry, Fiennes brings an appropriate, and much needed air of insanity to the film. He provides a splash of color to its pallet, giving the film an extra dimension without which it would seem flat and dull.

I was so happy with In Bruges. I can’t even express how much. It’s got the perfect balance of light comedy, drama, action, and darkness to satisfy just about every facet of film goer.

This post was originally published on my tumblr on September 3, 2012.