May 9, 2008

In Bruges

After seeing In Bruges, I am appalled that I didn't catch Mr. Martin McDonagh's The Lieutenant of Inishmore when it was on Broadway. I don't know what it says about me, but his dark humor is appealing to me. This is one of those movies where I was entertained but at the same time, wondering how I could laugh out loud at the political incorrectness of it all. There were six people in the cinema and I was one of two that found it hilarious.

The movie is about two hitmen, Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson, who gives the best performance out of our deadly trio) on holiday in the picturesque medieval Belgian town of Bruges. There they await orders from their boss Harry (Ralph Fiennes). Ken spends his free time reading and enjoying the sights. Ray is wracked with guilt over a hit gone wrong.

The trailers made it appear as if it was a goof ball buddy comedy. Instead, the film is violent, absurd, yet very moving at other times. It is not for the squeamish, faint-hearted, or easily offended. The clever script is peppered with expletives; we get prostitutes, drugs and a bloodbath. There is no character development, and yet we get strong performances from all the leads. (even Mr. Farrell surprise, surprise.) Nice to see Mr. Fiennes in yet another scary villain role but with a rare comic touch. (The exchanges between our assassins discussing how their individual shoot outs will proceed are just brilliant.)

Sorry, usually-awesome-Coen-brothers...I didn't get No Country for Old Men. If you want to see a subversive gem of a film, step off the beaten Hollywood path and spend some time in Bruges. The DVD will be available 24 June 2008.


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