Writer/Director: Martin McDonagh
Running time: 107 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18
UK Release date: 18th April 2008
Watched on Sky+ Monday 24th December 2012.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
This is my third viewing of this film; I guess I must like it! Very darkly comic with more than a hint of tragedy underlying the narrative; with each viewing I get more out of it. I don’t know whether it’s Colin Farrell’s portrayal of the slightly dim witted hit man or Brendan Gleeson’s take on the world weary and more experienced practitioner of the art. But I find myself having great affection for these two characters despite the fact I really shouldn’t! But I digress, here’s a brief summary before I expand on my thoughts some more… I should say, for the record, that what follows is mostly my original review with a few tweaks and additions.
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 also very good.
There are a lot of comic moments in this film, mainly in the form of 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 this put a much darker complexion on the comedic scenes that preceded it. I liked the ending; it seemed quite poetic in a way (sorry, no clues). Over all, a very enjoyable film with some laughs, excellent cinematography and some great performances…
SteelMonster’s verdict: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
My score: 8.3/10
IMDb Score: 8.0/10 (based on 188,049 votes at the time of going to press).
MetaScore: 67/100: (Based on 34 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 85/100 ‘Liked it’ (based on 64,222 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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WARNING: STRONG LANGUAGE
Ray: After I killed him, I dropped the gun in the Thames, washed the residue off me hands in the bathroom of a Burger King, and walked home to await instructions. Shortly thereafter the instructions came through - "Get the fuck out of London, you dumb fucks. Get to Bruges." I didn't even know where Bruges fucking was.
Ray: It's in Belgium.
Ken: Coming up?
Ray: What's up there?
Ken: The view.
Ray: The view of what? The view of down here? I can see that down here.
Ken: Ray, you are about the worst tourist in the whole world.
Ray: Ken, I grew up in Dublin. I love Dublin. If I grew up on a farm, and was retarded, Bruges might impress me but I didn't, so it doesn't.
Ray: [reading Harry's profanity-ridden message] Geez, he's swears a lot, doesn't he?
Ray: I saw your midget today. Little prick didn't even say hello.
Chloë: Well, he's on a lot of ketamine.
Ray: What's that?
Chloë: Um, horse tranquilizer.
Ray: Horse tranquilizer? Where'd he get that?
Chloë: I sold it to him.
Ray: You can't sell horse tranquilizers to a midget!
Ken: You from the States?
Jimmy: Yeah. But don't hold it against me.
Ken: I'll try not to... Just try not to say anything too loud or crass.
Marie: [to Ray and Harry] Why don't you both put your guns down, and go home?
Harry: Don't be stupid. This is the shootout.