This evening I went to the cinema with a friend of mine. After going over all the posters, our choice came down to two: Hancock or In Bruges… we flipped our coin and In Bruges it was (it’s in Belgium – so very much repeated in the movie).
The movie is clearly European in its style. There is no doubt about that. It’s a British/Irish movie directed by Martin McDonagh. The cast has Colin Farrell (Ray) and Brendan Gleeson (Ken)(I noticed also from the Harry Potter movies), with Ralph Fiennes (Harry).
For the first 20 minutes of the movie I had my doubts. It felt more like a sightseeing tour of Bruges than a movie with a story in it. And Ray keeps saying over and over that “Bruges is a shit hole” (hey! offence!) and that he hates “fucking Bruges” that is for crying out loud in Belgium (again, hey!). Ok, you’ve got 2 hitmen sent to Bruges to lay low for a while. They have to pass the time as tourists in wait for their boss’s call, Harry. All the “need to visit” places come in it… but hey! Where is the story?!
But patience… it starts unfolding when we get to know that Ray, during his first job as a hitman, had killed a little boy accidentally. The plot thickens. He feels pissed about being stuck in Bruges, while Ken is loving every minute of the Medieval city. The more time spend there, the more Ray thinks of what he has done and gets suicidal tendencies.
The call from Harry finally comes. Ken takes the call and finds out why they were send to Bruges. To give Ray one last happy moment before having him killed. Cause killing a small boy is not something you can get away with. Ken gets the order to kill Ray. He dreads it, but he will do it.
He finds Ray in the park on a bench. Ken steps up to him, with a silencer in his hand. Just as he steps up to shoot him in the back, Ray lifts up his hand and puts a gun to his own head…
This is only the first half of the movie. Yes, several deaths follow. I haven’t talked about some other characters, like Chloe (played by Clémence Poésy – also known from Harry Potter).
There is something of a dark feeling to this movie. Though the setting is pretty with the old city and all, the story (when it finally does lifts off in my eyes) is a good one.
There are humorous moments. When Ralph Fiennes finally comes into the story (in the third part of it), he is really delicious to watch. Some of the dialogues are smart and witty. I like it when they are witty. Makes you think…
I was surprised by Colin Farrell to tell you the truth. He did not convince me in the beginning. But once you know what Ray has done, and what chip he is left on his shoulder with… he was pretty good. Vulnerable. What you don’t often see him play. Always the tough guy or the sex symbol. Here he made me laugh and feel for him. Though he was a hitman… He wasn’t perfect. Not an a pedestal as in American movies is the case.
The fact that the only thing Ray found good about Bruges, was the painting of the Last Judgement by Hieronymus Bosch (c.1450-1516), I found great cause I love his paintings for all the hidden symbolism in it to discover. A painting depicting monsters and evil people paying the price for the bad lives they’ve led on Earth and doomed to purgatory. Because he felt himself kind of worthy of purgatory for having killed a child. The Bosch references come back later in the movie. I do hope others have spotted that. Cause it was very to the point and appropriate when it reappeared.
Not sure it will be to everybody’s liking, this movie, I feel it’s worth giving a chance. My friend was not that impressed by it. The shooting and the bloody shots of the … well, it was a bit too much for her. But all in all. I got what I searched for in that movie and got rewarded. Patience is a virtue.