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8/10 Going into this movie, I didn't have the highest expectations for it. However, I went to see it anyways, and let me just say that by the end credits I was completely shocked out how much I actually liked this movie. It was not only very funny but you were able to connect with the characters in a way you didn't think you would. The plot was def. very interesting and kept my attention the whole way through. Only real problem I had with the movie was that it was a little bit too long, but it didn't take away from anything. I should also say that I'm not a huge Colin Farrell fan, but after this movie I believe that he has proved that he can hold his own with the other leading men out there. I thought there were some beautiful moments that they captured on film where you see him dealing with his characters inner demons. I would highly recommend this movie to anyone who is looking for something "different", if you're sick of seeing the same "hollywood-esque" movies, then please give this movie a shot. If anything, enjoy it for the witty dialogue.5 years ago
A Breath of Fresh Air: Review from Sundance
8/10 For those who might not know the name, director Martin McDonagh is an Irish playwright who won the Oscar last year for his short film "Six Shooter" about a chance encounter on a train, and that film's star Brendan Gleeson has returned as Ken, one of two hit men sent to the medieval city of Bruges in Belgium along with his partner Ray (Colin Farrell) to rest and lay low after a hit gone horribly wrong. Ray is a miserable bastard who makes it clear he's not happy about being in Bruges, but Ken convinces him that their boss Harry has a job for them there, as well as allowing them a chance for some sightseeing, none of which improves Ray's mood. Things look up when he meets the beautiful local woman Chloe, played by French actress Clemence Poesy--you may remember her as Fleur Delacore in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire--and scores himself a date, which also goes horribly wrong due to Ray shooting off his big mouth. From there things continue to go south as Ray and Ken get into all sorts of messes and meet strange characters, all of whom will play a part in the larger picture.5 years ago
There aren't too many non-Belgian films set in Belgium, and Bruges is a beautiful but odd place to set an entire movie. You'll probably learn more about the place than you ever need to know as Ken narrates their sightseeing excursions with a few factoids about the place. The entire first act is driven by the chemistry between Farrell and Gleason as they deliver rapid-fire patter that reminds one of McDonagh's background as a playwright, but it makes them as immediately endearing as Vincent and Jules in "Pulp Fiction," allowing for an even bigger impact as things happen to them. Our first encounter with the boys' boss Harry is an expletive filled telegraph and an equally amusing phone conversation with Ken, making it obvious that this is a mobster cut from the same cloth as Ben Kingsley's Don Logan. Those who don't recognize the voice will be thrilled when they learn who plays Harry, because it's a pleasant surprise.
This is easily Colin Farrell's best role and performance in a long time, one that allows him to show a lot of range, not just as the big-mouthed prat we assume Ray to be, but also as a thoughtful man distraught about what happened in London. Having seen the error of his ways, he feels the need to make right, even if he hides it with a lot of complaining and arguments, and that carries over to Gleason's Ken, continuing his great run with McDonagh.
McDonagh has created a clever script that interweaves its small cast of characters into an intricate crime caper that mixes humor, violence and true heartfelt human emotions into a brilliant debut feature. Just when you think you know where things are going, McDonagh throws a sharp curve ball at you and then another, and another, and pretty soon, what started as a two-handed talkie has turned into a hold-your-breath action flick, when Harry turns up in Bruges to rectify some business that Ken has botched. Even so, it never loses what made the first half so charming and entertaining, because McDonagh's impressive dialogue remains at the forefront for the extended confrontation between Ken and Harry. The ending might be somewhat grim for some tastes going by the lightness of what's gone before, but the way everything is tied together makes it all worth it.
Anyone worried that Tarantino and Ritchie's best work might be behind them, can revel in the promise of McDonagh's take on the crime-comedy genre, as this talented filmmaker shows that "Six Shooter" was no fluke and this movie begins what's likely to be a long and promising film career. On top of that, if "In Bruges" doesn't end up being the funniest and most quotable movies of the year, then it should be very close
Atonement and Existentialism In Bruges
8/10 A European film through and through, showing its deep theatrical roots, "In Bruges" works on may levels, and is a fine night at the cinema.5 years ago
The film follows the denouement of a "job" gone bad for two Irish hit men, who are forced to hole up in Bruges, Belgium, and really can't stand the inactivity. The forced waiting, a symbolic purgatory in both assassins' struggle for absolution, gives Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell a chance to act through some marvelous comic dialogue.
The film itself looks like it was filmed in an area of the old city of Bruges that is no more than a 500 square metre radius. It doesn't matter, because the film is a character study more than anything, and like all good theatre, the character interplay allows the audience to forget the confined spaces.
Ralph Fiennes comes into the film late basically stealing Ben Kingsley's character from "Sexy Beast". This has to be an absolutely deliberate choice, so can't really be criticized. The writing is so good that Fiennes can have real fun with it. All the actors do, as a matter of fact.
I have been deeply suspicious of Colin Farrell's ability to read a script in the past. His choices of projects in the past has been spotty. Not this time: his acting ability is brought to the fore by director and screenwriter Martin McDonagh. Farrell gives a very strong performance as a morally challenged hit-man.
Brendan Gleeson has been around forever, and is a renowned character actor. You may remember him from "Braveheart" as Hamish Campbell, Mel Gibson's loyal adjutant. He is able to completely bury himself in this part. Colin Farrell has the capacity to reach these heights as well, and in fact, in this film, shows many of the mannerisms and intensity of Russell Crowe (whom I consider to be the best actor on the planet).
I appreciated the comedy and satire working hand in hand with the moral complexity of the characters' inner struggles. It makes for a very satisfying film, one that is much more than entertainment. When you consider what the budget was in comparison to many Hollywood films, "In Bruges" serves as a reminder that it is the script and the quality of the direction that makes a film. Why Hollywood thinks they can just throw money into a project and expect people to come to the cinema is beyond me.
"They're Filming Midgets..."
9/10 ...in Bruges. Two Irish hit men (Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell) are sent into hiding by their British boss (Ralph Fiennes) in Bruges, Belgium after a botched job only to learn that the most damning job awaits one of them just around the corner. Bruges is a picturesque tourist trap built around the oldest and best maintained medieval city in Belgium. Director and screenwriter Martin McDonagh bleeds the setting and the material for all its worth and makes his feature film debut in superb style.5 years ago
The dark comedy built around the existential quandaries of hit men has been done to death over the years. If last summer's "You Kill Me" was the relentlessly dark and relentlessly sitcom-y take on the genre, then "In Bruges" is the hipster art film take on the theme. McDonagh deserves all the credit in the world for breathing life into the stale story by texturing the tonal shifts with crisp digital camera-work (that is surprisingly haunting), deep character development, and by creating a wonderful sense of place. Imagine a Graham Greene novel ("Brighton Rock" specifically comes to mind) modernized by David Mamet. The dialog is super smart and wickedly un-PC while the comedy parts are as gut-busting as the crime thriller parts are suspenseful.
McDonagh has also brought together an outstanding cast who thrive in the material. Farrell defies all odds and manages to be as sympathetic in the dramatic parts as he is charmingly sarcastic in the comedic parts. Brendan Gleeson gives a fantastically nuanced portrayal as Farrell's mentor and friend. Meanwhile, Ralph Fiennes channels the scary-as-hell energy he's used previously in "Schindler's List" and the recent "Harry Potter" films in a limber subversion that is a frighteningly fun to watch. The supporting cast is to die for, with Jordan Prentice spot-on as a coked-up dwarf actor shooting an abhorrent art film on the streets of Bruges, and Clemence Poesy coyly seductive and unforgettable as Farrell's unlikely local love interest.
Ultimately "In Bruges" meanders down too many cobblestone paths, and one scene near the end involving a bell tower stretches credibility but adds necessary dramatic effect. Certain plot elements will turn off a large segment of the viewing audience. However, those with the right mindset will be greatly rewarded. "In Bruges" is hilarious, contemplative, sometimes scathing, often nihilistic, but marked by a shockingly hopeful undercurrent while tones shift and the colors of the human condition undulate in McDonagh's insightful light. The arrival of a commanding talent has been heralded...in Bruges.
What a Great Movie
8/10 I've used IMDb for years but have never felt the urge to post a review until now. I had the pleasure of attending an advanced screening of this movie in NYC last night to which Colin Farrell attended. I bought the screening tickets just wanting to bring my fiance to see some celebrities in person while not knowing much about the movie. I figured it would be a "hard-to-understand" foreign, indie film whose humor would be lost on a "dumb American." However, the truth was absolutely the opposite. My hard-to-please fiance agreed.5 years ago
The movie is a bit slow for the first half but it's entirely necessary to set the mood and the contrast between that and the second half. That's all I'll say so as not to spoil anything. It is really a great movie. There's comedy, beautiful cinematography, and awesome action scenes, albeit scattered throughout and absent at times when the viewer may be growing weary. I'd highly recommend seeing this movie. It's definitely worth the price of a movie ticket while most of the crap out there these days isn't worth the cost of the paper they print the tickets on.
Let us all know what you think after you see it.