“In Bruges” – 2008. Dir. Martin McDonagh. With Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson and Ralph Fiennes.
“In Bruges” is an interesting film. The set-up is two hitmen Ray and Kev (Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson) get sent to Bruges by their boss Harry Waters (Ralph Fiennes) after their last hit went terribly wrong. They are told to sight see and wait for a call from their boss, and Gleeson couldn’t be happier wandering around the beautiful town that has so much history to it. Farrell on the other hand can’t stand it, he hates being in Bruges, he hates everything about it. The only thing he enjoys is going to the pub and getting “pissed”. We slowly start to learn why Ray is wound extremely tight and is on edge. The last hit they performed went so horribly wrong it leaves Ray in a permanent state of guilt and remorse. Ray can’t even find absolution for what he has done, and he can’t even stand himself anymore. He slowly starts to lose control until he falls in love with a beautiful woman, Chloe who robs tourists.
The film is remarkable in the sense that it masks it very, very heavy subject matter with witty and fresh dialogue that’s so funny it makes you laugh out loud. It allows you to enjoy the character of Ray, even after you find out what he did. You enjoy him for the outlandish things he says and does (including doing cocaine with a midget, while the midges discuss the inevitable war that is going to break out between blacks and whites). Colin Farrell gives one of the best performances of his career, which did garnish him a Best Actor Musical/Comedy at the Golden Globes, and it’s one of the rare occasions that the award actually meant something.
The real treat of the film is Harry Waters. Waters is the ruthless boss of Ray and Kev, who isn’t seen till the end of the film. He’s a viciously wicked, scary and funny character. Ralph Fiennes gives his finest role since that of Charles Van Doren in “The Quiz Show“. Fiennes’ performance was snubbed by all awards which to me is absolutely shocking. I don’t mean to be short on Fiennes, but I’ll be posting something specifically about his performance very soon.