Top Ten Supporting Performances of the Decade – #8 Ralph Fiennes “In Bruges”.


“An Uzi? I’m not from South Central Los Angeles. I didn’t come here to shoot twenty black ten year olds in a drive-by. I want a normal gun for a normal person.”

“In Bruges” is a highly underrated film with great cast and story; but the real treat in the film is Ralph Fiennes who plays Harry Walters, the boss of the two hitmen (Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson) who are shacked up in Bruges under Walters’ direct orders. Fiennes has limited screen time and is mainly the focus of the prestige of the film. His performance can be equated much to the liking of William Hurt’s brilliant film stealing performance in “A History of Violence”. Fiennes shows up in Bruges in full form towards the end of the film to settle unfinished business. Fiennes is absolutely perfect in the film. He is so wickedly funny as he discusses situations that lay in the film. It’s amazing how Fiennes doesn’t look menacing himself, but when he takes a role like this, he looks and sounds evil. He deliverers his lines of dialogue through his teeth, he snarls and hisses his lines.

The most fascinating part about his character is he is also much like Hans Landa of “Inglorious Basterds”; meaning he is this essentially evil character, but what centers him is a sense of duty and honor. Walters has his “principles” and he sticks to them, right up until the end. He is a family man, and even though we see him lash out at his wife (calling her an “inanimate fucking object”), we still get the feeling that he is essentially a good father and husband and doesn’t allow his fits of rage and anger to erupt while around them. Or maybe he does.

What helps excel Fiennes’ performance is the excellent, excellent, excellent script written by Martin McDonagh (who also directed). The dialogue is so witty, and so well paced. It is stylized without being a British Tarantino knock off, ala Guy Richie. The script is remarkable; the core of the film circles around a much unforgivable act. Think of the worst thing you could do to someone, and then multiply it by two. The deep subject matter is made very bearable and strangely enjoyable by the witty banter these characters spit at one another. Especially Fiennes.

Fiennes displays an excellent amount of range as an actor, from his role in “The Quiz Show” to “Schindler’s List” to “The English Patient” to “An End of the Affair” to “In Bruges” and his small role in “The Hurt Locker”. I’ve always found Fiennes a remarkable actor, who has started an acting tree with his brothers. It’s much like the Baldwin’s, where Alec is obviously the best one. Harry Walters keeps you engaged and entertained as he goes on a shooting rampage throughout Bruges. If you’re not interested in seeing this film, suck it up and see it, if only for Ralph Fiennes.

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Author: Frank Mengarelli

Everybody relax, Frank's here. After going to film school at Columbia College Chicago, Frank decided to underachieve with his vast knowledge of film into a career in civil service. Frank had a brief stint as a film blogger, and then he met the heterosexual love of his life, Nick Clement. The two instantly bonded over their love from everything to Terence Malick to THE EXPENDABLES films. Some of Frank's favorite filmmakers are Terence Malick, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Sylvester Stallone, Oliver Stone and Spike Lee. Some of his favorite films are THE TREE OF LIFE, STAR WARS (all of them), BAD LIEUTENANT, THE THING and ALL THAT JAZZ. Frank spends his free time with his dog Roger, collecting any Star Wars collectible he can find and trying to finish his pretentious, first person narrative novel(la), LARGE MEN IN SMALL CARS..

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