Friday, June 27, 2008
Movie Reviews: IN BRUGES
Bruges (pronounced "broozh"), the most well-preserved medieval city in the whole of Belgium, is a welcoming destination for travellers from all over the world. But for hit men Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson), it could be their final destination; a difficult job has resulted in the pair being ordered right before Christmas by their London boss Harry (two-time Academy Award nominee Ralph Fiennes) to go and cool their heels in the storybook Flemish city for a couple of weeks. Ken and Ray's vacation becomes a life-and-death struggle of darkly comic proportions and surprisingly emotional consequences.
Cast: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes, Clémence Poésy, Jérémie Renier
Director: Martin McDonagh
Opened February 8, 2008
Runtime: 1 hr. 41 min.
Rated R for strong bloody violence, pervasive language and some drug use
Martin McDonagh's freshman entry In Bruges is an occasionally inspired and an always intriguing film that does a great job of keeping you entertained throughout. McDonagh's first film reminds me vaguely of Tarantino's first film, Reservoir Dogs, lots of violence, snappy dialogue with a surprisingly hearty emotionally core. McDonagh's direction is a study in contradictions; this film is filled with them from the idyllic drop back to Gleeson's Ken being portrait of polarity. McDonagh uses the city well and shoots it wonderfully even if at times the scenery gets a tad repetitive. The actors all appear to be having a great time on screen really indulging themselves in their parts, though they are more caricatures than living breathing people. Colin Farrell is all twitchy movements as he portrays Ray who is a ball of guilt and psychosis. Farrell does a wonderful job of conveying Ray's guilt and keeping his usual bravado under check. Gleeson turns in another in a long line of excellent performances as the straight man in this odd couple. He bring his typical fatherly charm to the role but his interplay with Farrell feels so natural that it's hard not to take notice. Fiennes mostly holds his cold stare in his limited screen time but he keeps his character from become too one dimensional mostly due to his interactions with Gleeson which feel very organic. It's a common theme; characters interact with each other very easily, never feeling forced or manufactured. McDonagh supplies them with plenty of darkly hilarious situations which work, for the most part. The comedy and emotional center are both fairly effective but when the film transitions from one to the other it's not as smooth as it should be. Making you take a moment and pull back that grin after a funny segment moves quickly into more serious tones. Still there's plenty to like here and the film's sure to please most, even if the film is surprisingly gory in horror movie sense.