Sunday, 20 March 2011

Film Review: IN BRUGES (2008)

Writer/Director: Martin McDonagh
Running time: 107 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Drama/Thriller/Comedy
UK Release date: 18th April 2008

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 20th March 2011.


This is, again, a film I have seen before and, again, I took more out of it on a second viewing. This one seems to cover all the bases; drama, romance, comedy, thrills; it’s got the lot to varying degrees. The first time I saw it, it was the comedy that stood out; this time I was more struck by the drama of it. But more of my thoughts later, here’s a brief summary first (summary haters and those that don’t wish to know anything about the plot please take a tour of Bruges while I write the next paragraph).

Two hit men, Ray and Ken have been sent to lie low in Bruges (Belgium, for those that don’t know where it is) by their boss, Harry, after a bungled hit. They check into their hotel only to find, to their dismay, that they will be sharing a room. This does not go down well, but it’s near Christmas and everywhere is fully booked. The two men are complete opposites, Ken is quite cultured and is happy to go sightseeing in the medieval city. Ray, on the other hand, is much younger and would be happier spending his time in a bar. Ken insists they do some culture and Ray acts like a bored teenager. That is until he discovers a film crew who have a dwarf in the cast, he is fascinated with Jimmy. There he also meets the mysterious Chloe, who he invites out on a date. That evening Harry calls and tells Ken the real purpose for their visit. I will leave my summary here so as not to enrage the spoiler police too much.

I think the Bruges tourist board will be very happy with this film; the medieval architecture comes across beautifully. The cinematography is great and the setting adds real atmosphere. Great performances all round, particularly from; Colin Farrell as Ray, Brendan Gleeson as Ken and Ralph Fiennes as Harry, all were excellent. Honourable mentions also go to; Clémence Poésy as Chloe and Jordan Prentice as Jimmy, both were very good.

As I said at the beginning, there is a lot of comedy in this film, it’s mainly in the things Ray says and does. Few films make me laugh out loud, but this one did in more than a couple of places. The drama comes mainly in the final third and I found it didn’t quite have the impact it might have done. I guess the comedy reduced the force of the dramatic conclusion, although by then the comedy is very, very dark. The ending, I felt, was a little bit of a let-down, I expected something much bigger. But over all, a very enjoyable film with some laughs, excellent cinematography and some great performances… Recommended.

My score: 8.1/10

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