In Bruges

From the off, this had the look and feel of a cult movie. Being neither an out-and-out comedy nor an action thriller, I personally feel that this movie was mis-marketed – however, at least the PR machine made me want to watch it in the first place and I’m glad I did. Feeling like a cross between “Father Ted” and “The Bourne Identity”, this is a beautifully shot film full of humour and pathos in equal measures. It’s also the first film I can recall seeing where Colin Farrell isn’t a huge disappointment.

In Bruges

“In Bruges” introduces us to two Irish hit men – child-like Ray (Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) who are ordered to lay low in Bruges (in Belgium) for two weeks after a job in London while awaiting further instructions from their boss Harry (Ralph Fiennes). Ken enjoys his time while Ray can’t wait to get out until he meets Chloë (Clémence Poésy), who is working on a film with dwarf actor Jimmy (Jordan Prentice). But after botching a job and finding himself the target, both Ray and Ken struggle to deal with the consequences of their actions…

In Bruges

There will be few who would argue that “In Bruges” is anything original as it is rather reminiscent of a Guy Ritchie gangster flick as the characters and plot tangle with each other in unexpected ways. The balance of humour and drama also matches Ritchie’s output though due to heavy Irish accents, you sometimes struggle to hear all of the fabulously witty dialogue.

In Bruges

But “In Bruges” does offer some crucial differences, the biggest being Farrell who produces the goods in a way I never expected he could. He and Gleeson exchange some brilliant dialogue as they come to terms with past mistakes and choices. Fiennes is also very good as the urbane killer with a family life and a potty mouth. The other surprise is Bruges itself, looking every inch like the medieval dreamscape it feels like in the movie and provides not only a rich backdrop but also another character interacting with the actors.

In Bruges

However, the plot itself is pretty standard gangster fare (albeit, set in Belgium) and there are still questions left at the end of the film. But these don’t distract you from what is an extremely good, low-budget movie that offers big dollops of laughs, action and soul-searching amid a picturesque Gothic town in Belgium. No doubt about it, this is a difficult movie to pigeonhole and I know some people who’ll watch this expecting something different and going home disappointed. Probably the film closest to this in feel and style is the equally cult “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang” and that didn’t do too well at the box office either. But if you’re in the mood for something different but still entertaining then this could be exactly what you’re looking for. Give it a go but leave your expectations at the door. Then book a flight to Belgium…

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