Movie Review: “In Bruges”

September 15, 2008


People that know me well, know my aversion to hype and and just how easy it is to build up my expectations.  It  was with much trepidation, therefore, that I decided to see “In Bruges” – you see, on the day that I read it scored a position on the IMDB Top 250 (a significant acollade), I also heard it described as “grizzly” and “dry”.  Well … bollocks to both ends of that particular spectrum!

This is the best thing that Colin Farrell has done for .., well, .. ever (for no other reason than the performance is delivered in his native accent). Brendan Gleeson also puts in a another brilliant performance – in fact, I never quite appreciated the attention this particular actor could give to a role until now.  Whilst there is an air of ‘Lock Stock’ and ‘Sexy Beast’ about Ralph Fiennes‘ character, this too is best thing he’s done since that trite English Patient.

Now, if you’ve heard people say this is a funny movie, smack ’em.  It’s not – it’s black, dry, gentle in it’s pace and stunning to look at.  In as much as Colin Farrell’s character is emotionally ‘retarded’, he does have the occasional side-splitting line though, for example:

“What are they doing over there? They’re filming something. They’re filming midgets!”

(I guess you have to imagine the ‘excited boy’ character he’s playing).  If you’re finding the main plot a bit drawn out, there’s a mischievous leprechaunic quality about Colin’s character (Ray) which punctuates the story nicely.

Almost surpassing the writers and actors’ performance, however, are those of the cinematographer (Eigil Bryld) and the composer (Carter Burwell) who’ve faithfully brought the “fairy tale” and rhythm of Bruge to screen.

80 BPM

Post Script: Upon accepting his award at the 66th Golden Globe Awards, Colin Farrell delivered, what I believe to be one of the most accurate descriptions of “In Bruges” (I mean, to call it a ‘Comedy’ is just so misleading, no?).  Here’s what he said:

“It’s seldom you get a script that’s as simultaneously profound,  and beautifully comic and wonderfully painful, filled with delightful remorse, and more than anything else, the sweetest sweetest redemptive qualities .. that was ‘In Bruges’ for me” …. [Colin Farrell, Jan 2009]

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About Justin Moss

An information and engineering technologist. Unabashedly opinionated, open-minded and an oft overthinker. Born Sydney Australia, home of the 'Southerly Buster'

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