In Bruges is the latest stop on Colin Farrell's comeback tour, and dare I say it is one of the best films he's ever been involved with. It is a movie that is part comedy, part drama, part action, and part travelogue.
I am sure you have seen plenty of reviews that tell you how to pronounce the city in the title; allow this to be just one more (in case you happened to miss all of the others). It is "Broozh" and not "Bruggs" or "Broogs"; it is similar to the sound of the word "bruise." I felt the need to go through this, as I had my own questions about the pronunciation. The first promotion I saw was the poster, which was followed with the thought, "In what?" Now that we have that out of the way, we can move on to the film itself, which has proved itself to be a cinematic gem.
If you are looking for an impressive big screen debut, look no further. In Bruges is the screenwriting and directorial debut of Martin McDonagh. Now, don't go thinking that McDonagh has no experience; he has been gaining considerable notoriety as a playwright, considered one of the best up and coming writers, not to mention his five Tony award nominations. Beyond that, he did try his hand at film writing, helming and penning the short film Six-Shooter which would go on to win the Academy Award in 2005 for best Live Action Short. He has taken all of that experience and proceeded to deliver a feature film that is the antithesis of the majority of what Hollywood has been turning out. At least, it stands out amongst the early offerings of 2008.
Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) are a pair of Irish hitmen in the employ of a British gangster. After a hit goes wrong, the two are sent to Bruges to lay low and wait for orders. This is an order to which the duo have a decidedly split reaction. Ken is more than happy to slow down and take in the sights, exhibiting a genuine interest in the city and what it contains. On the other hand, Ray is younger and a bit more headstrong and ready to go. He has no interest in cooling his heels in this town, nor in spending time sharing a room with his partner. However, show him a movie being shot around the corner, and his willingness to stay increases, if only slightly.