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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

In Bruges (2008)


Who knew Bruges was such a happenin’ place! Full of fun, murder and all!

After a job goes terribly wrong, hitmen Ken (Brendan Gleeson) and Ray (Colin Farrell) are sent away to Bruges to let the heat die down. This also allows for their boss (Ralph Fiennes) to think of their next move, so that while they’re in Bruges, not only can they enjoy the various sights, but they can wait on his call for further instructions of what to do next. In the meantime, the two hitmen go sight-seeing, although against most of Ray’s wishes; instead, he would much rather like to drink, do drugs, find some pretty ladies and have as much fun as one possibly could while vacationing in a place like Bruges. Luckily for Ray, there’s a local film crew around town filming something with a dwarf and a pretty gal (Clémence Poésy) that he automatically takes a liking to. However, the aftermath of his one job still continues to mess with his mind and threatens to ruin any possibility of being sane he may have. To make matters even worse, when the two guys eventually do get their call from the boss, it isn’t a pleasing one and may actually pit the two seemingly good friends up against one another.

But hey, that’s business, mate.

It’s a very rare occasion in which a movie that I have seen more than a handful of times, can not only just make me laugh nearly as much as I did the first time around, but can also keep me on edge as to where the story is going next. And with In Bruges, it’s an even rarer-occasion, because, generally, the film leans on its constant plot twists that take over the last-act of this movie; plot twists that I have seen many times before. So for a movie to excite me all over again, as if I was just watching it for the first time in my life, truly is a work of magic.

I think we all know she's in for a wild night ahead of her.

I think we all know she’s in for a wild night ahead of her.

Because, the fact remains, In Bruges is one of the better dark-comedies of the past decade, and not too many people know about it. Even if they should, they don’t. But while that may seem like a meaningless “idea that I think is actually a fact”, there’s something endearing about that aspect that works wonders for this movie.

For instance, the movie prides itself in being contained to this one, rather small part of Bruges; a place you didn’t think was a perfect setting for a film, but somehow, totally is. It’s a place that the movie mocks on more than one occasion, but also shows that there’s some beauty in the land these guys are vacationing at. I don’t mean in just the numerous museums or churches these two guys see, I mean in the people they meet and the things that happen to them, both good and bad. What I’m basically trying to say is that Bruges itself, becomes something of a character in a movie that’s named after it and it creates a small vortex of a world that, as they say in the movie, “Seems like you’re in a dream.”

All that philosophical shite aside (working on my Irish over here), this movie is still entertaining-as-hell no matter how many times it’s watched. You so rarely get that with any movie, but when you see as many movies as I do on a regular basis (more than any normal human being should ever have to), certain movies just fade in your mind and you lose the ability to love them all over again. However, with In Bruges, that ability isn’t anywhere to be found; in fact, I think I may love the movie even more now, then I did way back when I saw it in the early days of ’09.

Certain jokes I can catch up on quicker now, the story makes a whole lot more sense, and the performances from the trio of lead veers quite closely into being “perfect”; especially from Colin Farrell, the actor I’ve always had faith in, and here is exactly the reason why.

As Ray, Farrell is a ticking time bomb just waiting to explode and destroy everything around him. You get the sense that he’s a young, brash asshole that doesn’t know when to keep his mouth shut, nor knows how to act like an adult, but that’s sort of the point of the character and makes Farrell act even better than before. He’s a bit of a punk that does and says bad things throughout the majority of this movie (as hilarious as they sometimes may be), but knows that they are bad, wrong, they should not be done, and at least wants to move on from those mistakes and see if he can turn his life around.

In other words, he’s a bastard with a conscience, and every single second of watching Farrell play him is a total pleasure.

Even more of a pleasure to watch is Brendan Gleeson as the older, much more experience hitman that’s something of a father-figure to Ray, although the movie doesn’t hit us over the head with that idea. Instead, it just allows us to see Ray and Ken as two guys, who have the same job, and are mates, yet, they are in a bit of a sticky situation that can go either way. They don’t know, and they don’t necessarily care. They just want to take each day as they come and both characters express that feeling in two very different ways. For Ray, spending his day is all about getting drunk, having a shag or two with a lady, and just overall, having a grand old time. Whereas for Ken, he’s much more simpler in that he likes to read a book or two, explore the land around him a bit, and at the end of the day, go to bed while watching the tube.

They’re both opposites, yet, they are very good friends that understand each other and at least try to make sense of where the other one comes from. Watching them speak to each other about such stuff like either Belgium art, guys who sell lollipops, kung-fu, is constantly fun and entertaining, while very interesting because we see certain shades of their characters come out that we didn’t expect to ever see, all throughout their conversations. It also helps that Gleeson and Farrell have a lovely chemistry that never feels false. Not even for a single second.

Look out, Oskar!

Look out, Oskar!

And to make matters even better, we have Ralph Fiennes here as the foul-mouthed, constantly pissed-off boss of theirs that isn’t around a lot, but when he does show up, is around to only take care of business his way. We hardly ever see Fiennes do a performance as nasty or as eccentric as this, which is what exactly makes it such a pleasant, if totally unexpected surprise. But what Fiennes is able to find in this character is some ounce of humanity that makes him more than just a dirty, cold-blooded killer; the dude has a code/conscience, and all he’s doing is following through with it. He’s a mean old son-of-a-bitch, but he’s at least a human one, and the fact that we get to see that aspect of the character is truly a testament to the kind of actor that Fiennes is.

But honestly, I’m going on and on about the cast, without mentioning the one who is really responsible for this whole thing coming together so perfectly: Writer/director Martin McDonagh. Sure, McDonagh’s style of blending dark comedy with humane-drama, and bloody violence, has all been done numerous times before, but there’s something oh so refreshing about McDonagh here that makes me wonder not only why he doesn’t do more movies, but also why many more writers and directors haven’t followed suit? Because what McDonagh does so amazingly well here, is that he finds out what makes us laugh, what makes us cry, and what keeps us on the edge of our seats when watching movies, and combine them all together to make a movie accessible enough for anyone to see.

I mean, I’m not saying that In Bruges is the perfect pint of Guinness for either mom, dad, or your younger sibling, but what I am saying is that if you and your pals are hanging around late one night, need something to watch that will not only interest you, but have you downright laughing and enjoying yourselves, then you could do worse. Far, far worse.

Moral to the story: Watch this movie and thank me later.

Now go!

Consensus: Hilarious, fun, superbly-acted, exciting, surprising, and sweet in spots you don’t expect it to be, In Bruges is a near-perfect dark-comedy/thriller more people need to see in order to realize just how much crap is truly out there in the world that everybody knows, and why little gems like this go so unnoticed, for so very long.

9.5 / 10 = Full Price!!

Something in that image doesn't fit with the rest of it....

Something in that image doesn’t fit with the rest of it….

Photo’s Credit to: Goggle Images

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24 responses to “In Bruges (2008)

  1. Lauren (@lololovesscents) July 30, 2014 at 4:43 am

    Love this movie. It’s one of my favorites. Brilliant acting and incredibly hilarious!

  2. Tom July 30, 2014 at 5:26 am

    Stellar review Dan, In Bruges is one of my favorites man, it’s so awesome! So happy to see the 9.5 out of 10 here, it’s just a damn fine bit of work. I agree that McDonagh should also do many more movies, there’s not enough of his stuff!

  3. sidekickreviews July 30, 2014 at 5:35 am

    Great review, totally agree with all your points. I heard good things about this movie before I watched it and it managed to surpass my expectations. Gleeson and Farrell are so good and fun to watch in this.

  4. 70srichard July 30, 2014 at 6:04 am

    Nicely put. I especially liked your point about Ralph Fiennes character.

  5. Monkeyboy July 30, 2014 at 6:52 am

    Great review. One of my favourite movies.

  6. Caz July 30, 2014 at 7:37 am

    This is one of my favourite films since seeing it in cinemas on its release. It really does have a bit of everything and hilarious at times, with a great heart to the story. I could watch it over and over again without getting bored. Great review Dan!

  7. lukebbtt July 30, 2014 at 8:01 am

    Great review. I love this film to pieces. So clever, funny and… simply put… well made.

  8. Horrorvile July 30, 2014 at 11:44 am

    I heard about this film but never really got to watch it. Now I feel like I’ve been missing out,have to watch it. Great review!

  9. E Rafferty July 30, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    Great review. Definitely one of my favourite films since I caught it five years ago. Still trying to convince people that aren’t sold on Colin Farrell to watch it.

  10. gloganwriter July 30, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    I love this movie so much, its perfect. Nice review Dan!

  11. MovieManJackson July 30, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    I loved Seven Psychopaths, and I’ve heard nothing but awesome praise for this. Sounds like a winner Dan.

  12. Brittani July 30, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    Awesome review! I absolutely love this one, and you’re right, it never gets old. I’m glad more people are starting to catch on to it though.

  13. vinnieh July 30, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    Great review, love the inanimate object scene.

  14. abstracticality July 30, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    Took me a while to actually watch this one. I was hesitant, but I eventually came round and loved it! Great review.

  15. mikeyb @ screenkicker July 30, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    One of my favourites. I showed it to my mum and she loved it too. Colin Farrell is perfect in it

  16. Wendell July 30, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    Great review, Dan. This really is a brilliant movie.

  17. Annie Oakley July 30, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    Nice review dan I am looking for some really fun movies.stuff tat is not of the american pie variety

  18. Chris July 30, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    Great review, Dan. LOVE this one, definitely surprised me when I first saw it a couple years back. 🙂

  19. Jackie July 30, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    Due to some pop culture references in my favorite movies, I hadn’t been the biggest fan of Colin Farrell 😛 for really STUPID reasons that I started throwing out when I started watching more of his movies. especially where he gets to keep his native accent and this is one of two of my favorites. Great score, btw, from Carter Burwell. The scenery is great, the dialogue is sharp and hilarious at times. A lot of great range in this movie from the plot and its characters/actors.

  20. cindybruchman July 30, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    I adore this movie. Arguably the best black comedy ever, if not in the last decade. Great review.

  21. CinemaClown July 31, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    One of the finest screenplays to come out in 21st century cinema. Great movie. Great review.

  22. Kelly Wilson July 31, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    I love this particular McDonagh brother. I think his ability to navigate between the deadly serious and brilliantly humorous is his true asset and I am looking forward to his future projects. During a “Seven Psychopaths” interview he said something about making another picture another four or so years later. He is also a playwright and has books of plays which can be read. They read like his movies. A great talent.

  23. whitdenton98 August 3, 2014 at 7:35 am

    One of my all-time favorites, although I still prefer Seven Psychopaths. Awesome review Dan! You really got at what makes this movie good,

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