Saturday, January 17, 2009

In Bruges

In Bruges is the most unattractive movie title I can think of. How can you even tell someone you're going to watch In Bruges... It's awkward to even say it in a sentence. What is Bruges anyway? Colin Farrell lays it out for us in the opening narration: "I didn't even know where Bruges fucking was. (long pause) It's in Belgium."

Hitmen Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken are sent to hide out in Bruges (in Belgium!) to await further instructions after Ray's first job-- where he accidentally killed a little boy. They pass the time in Bruges seeing the sights of the "best-preserved medieval city in Belgium", while Ray is wracked with guilt over the child he killed. I found it strange that he's all broken up about the kid but feels nothing about the priest he shot up first, but then again I won't pretend to be able to relate to their line of work.

There's more to the plot than hanging around in Belgium and feeling guilty, but I wouldn't want to give it away. The best thing in the movie is experiencing the plot unravel, one twist at a time.

Also of note is how pretty this city of Bruges is, considering I've never even heard of it before. Ray may think it's a shithole, but as the movie went on and showcased more scenes of Bruges it got me wishing I could go sightseeing there myself someday, and wondering how a place that looks like a fairy tale could have escaped my awareness.

Colin Farrell won a Golden Globe for his performance in this movie, and it's rightly deserved. At one point he breaks down into tears completely, and that's the money shot... It's like hearing a great drum solo-- no one usually pays attention to a good drummer, but when he's allowed to let loose with a solo everyone has to sit back and wonder at how good he is. Colon Farrell is good.

The biggest problem with the movie is the title, and just getting myself to watch the movie was a struggle against my instincts, which insisted that a movie called "In Bruges" has to be some weird, inconsequential, possibly foreign language film. The public must have been turned off by the title as well, and since its release last February the movie has grossed just $7.8 million in the US. And that is such a shame, because it's actually really, really good.

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