In Bruges * * * 1/2
Director: Martin McDonagh.
Screenplay: Martin McDonagh.
Starring: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes, Clemence Poesy, Jordan Prentice, Jeremie Renier, Zeljko Ivanek, Thekla Rueten, Eric Godon, Matt Smith, Ciaran Hinds.
After winning an Oscar for his short film “Six Shooter”, director Martin McDonagh’s first feature length dares to combine a crime thriller with comedy and the results are surprisingly good.
Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson), are two Irish hitmen, laying low in the medieval Belgian town of ‘Bruges’ to evade the police after a botched job back home. While awaiting instructions from their furious boss Harry (Ralph Fiennes), they take in the sights of the town and Ken braces himself for bad news as Ray stuggles with his conscience.
It’s no easy task to mix genres and manage to pull it off but McDonagh has done an admirable job and that’s party due to the fact that he doesn’t seem to care who he offends, in order to wring out the laughs. The main source, being a lack of political correctness with Farrell’s character Ray and his opinion and choice of words when addressing the fact that Jimmy (Jordan Prentice) is a dwarf. He never seems to say the right thing, due to ignorance, but there’s no denying it provides the goods and Prentice is a good sport for being in on the joke. However, some of the jokes are strained and contrary to other opinions, I think Farrell struggles with the delivery of the humour at times and shows some signs of overacting. This is certainly not the case with Gleeson though. He’s as solid as usual and plays the straight-man to Farrell’s fool. The star of the show for me though, was Ralph Fiennes. It’s been said before but his performance is definitely reminiscent of Ben Kingsley in “Sexy Beast” but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. He’s foul mouthed, volatile and completely unhinged but it’s hilarious to watch and it looked like Fiennes had a lot of fun with the role. The town of Bruges itself, is also a character, looming around the actors, looking ominously gothic and steeped in history. Wisely, McDonagh chooses to use it well and give the audience a tour of it and Cinematographer Eigil Bryld deserves special mention for his work here, in capturing it’s medieval beauty.
An impressive and unexpected delight from all involved, with good chemistry from the actors and darkly comic, razor sharp dialogue. Worth visiting.