Reel Society

Reviews for the latest movies in theaters and on DVD.

In Bruges

Review by Mark Lengieza

I had the pleasure of watching this little gem of a film when it first came around in theaters and with its recent release on DVD (and my second viewing) I figured I just had to write about it.

I didn’t really know what to expect going into the film.  From the trailer, I couldn’t tell if it was going to be a comedy or an action film.  I mean, it’s not the easiest thing to turn a movie about hitmen into comedic gold.  This film however, really succeeded. 

But be warned:  this film is certainly is not for everyone.  Many people, particularly those to tend not to “get” British humor, will not understand a lot of the jokes.  It is also very much a dark comedy, which I will admit is another factor might limits its audience.  If you are a fan of dark humor, though, this is an absolute must-see.  Colin Farrell could not have played his role any better.  His timing with each of his lines was so brilliant.  He is what really made the movie so funny, and so enjoyable.

Throw all this into a well-crafted yet simple storyline that builds to a terrific climax and even better ending, and I think this is definitely going to end up in my Top 5 of 2008.  It is a wonderful mix of perfect writing, humor, and just the right amount of.  I hope it has a very successful run on DVD, and I also would like to see Colin Farrell stick to more roles like this, which are perfectly suited to his acting style, to showcase more of his talent.  He was brilliant in this.

4 ½ / 5 stars


Review by Jonas Mieschbuehler

Beautiful, enigmatic, stunning and quite simply awesome, In Bruges is a rare gem of a film that takes elements of comedy, action, drama and a touch of romance and blends them together seamlessly.  It takes place in the city of (you guessed it) Bruges, Belgium, where two Dubliners named Ray and Ken, go sightseeing.  Ray (Colin Farrell) is the reluctant tourist, constantly nagging Ken (Brendan Gleeson) to go to the pub for a “bit of fun” while Ken seems to be his polar opposite, taking a huge interest in the medieval culture around him… or so we think.

The comic dialogue in the first part of the film is a spectacle in itself, and Farrell and Gleeson are perfectly cast in these roles, feeding off each other with precision.  The beautiful visuals and stunning imagery are accompanied by a harmony of flutes, which really sets the tone of the film quite nicely, even going so far as making you want to plan a sojourn to Bruges (a town that is only 150 square kilometers in size) yourself..

It turns out that Ray and Ken make their living as cleaners, and not the kind with mops. They’ve been sent to Bruges because of a job that went horribly wrong (Ray accidentally took the life of an innocent boy). Their boss, Harry (Ralph Fiennes, looking like he’d stepped right out of a Guy Ritchie movie) has sent them there to lay low.   Despite the rampant profanity  - lots and lots of F-bombs - there is plenty of witty humor that helps you connect and even sympathize with the characters and identify with their internal character struggles, which is a central theme to the story.  Fiennes’ plays his character as a badass, but with a surprising amount of principle and integrity, reminiscent of Ben Kingsley’s character in Sexy Beast, and he practically steals the show.

As Ray buries his demons, Ken becomes aware of Harry’s arrival to Bruges, something that was unforeseen to both the Irish lads and the viewer, this makes for one of the brilliant plot points of the story, and the combined elements of action and suspense are in fifth gear. This is where I had expected the film to go on a little longer, as it is done so well (and you would expect assassins to shoot more often), but instead it’s more a battle of wits.   I like the director’s choice to avoid the violence and replace it with a gangsters’ rules system where a romping climactic finish gets all the action; it differs from recent gangster movies where action is full blast and plots are wafer-thin.

I have to say, this is one of the most witty, clever and engaging lower budget films I’ve seen in quite some time.  The film is well-paced, and all of the characters (even the minor ones) are a joy to watch.  Please go do yourself a favor and watch In Bruges; there’s not many films these days that can leave you with your mouth hanging open, but this one will.

4 ½ / 5 stars




Comments (1):

  • Jonas Mish @ 08/03/2008 ( 7:43:48 PM )
    I had no idea what this film was about. Now that i now colin Farrel is in it, and he is a Hitman, and its funny in a British way- I MUST GO SEE IT!

    thanks Geez
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