Monday, January 5, 2009

In Bruges

If my memory of the trailer I saw months ago is accurate, then In Bruges wasn't advertised correctly. They made it seem like a violent European crime comedy thing along the lines of something Guy Ritchie would make, but it's really more serious than that. The film is quite funny in places, but the story at the heart of it is fairly tragic. After a job goes wrong in London, a couple of hit men are sent by their boss to wait in the little city of Bruges for further instruction; one of them a rookie, the other an old hand. At first the movie is pretty lighthearted, as Brendan Gleeson marvels at the old architecture and all the sightseeing to be had, while Colin Farrell complains about what a bore the place is, and jokes around a bit. But before long we see that his character was deeply affected by what he did back in London, and pretty distraught over what he should do next. For some reason it's popular to dump on Farrell, but I thought he did a very good job with a really good part here.

As time goes on, it gets to the point where he really has to leave Bruges, but circumstances prevent him from leaving, and the boss, played by Ralph Fiennes, shows up which further complicates things. Gleeson is sympathetic to his plight and tries to help, but Fiennes is pretty much a bastard and has no such feelings. It's really a great little cast, the three leads are never all together at once but all share scenes with the other two at some point, and the interactions are always unique and fun. Farrell and Gleeson act like underage brothers, Gleeson and Fiennes are old friends with a history that makes things difficult, and Fiennes and Farrell have a very funny back and forth despite the circumstances of their meeting. There's a cute Belgian girl (who also plays a Harry Potter character along with Fiennes and Gleeson) and a dwarf thrown in to mix things up, and the finale is pretty unfortunate but has a sliver of hope to it. Everything that happens, even apparently meaningless scenes, usually ties in to the main story in some usually comic way, but despite the movie being generally pretty funny throughout, it hit me harder than most comedies do. Definitely should be seen.

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