*THIS ENTRY WILL NOT CONTAIN SPOILERS*
I will now be absolutely 100% honest and say that it took me so long to see In Bruges because I am not a fan of Colin Ferrell. I don’t know what it is about him, but when I find out he’s in a movie my interest plummets. Which is unfair, because he’s a decent actor and I really found myself liking his character in this film.
In Bruges was nominated for a wagonload of awards after its release in 2008, including both its leads, Ferrell and Brendon Gleeson, being nominated for Golden Globes. Ferrell won, and he did earn it, I have to say.
In Bruges is a few different things:
- A dark comedy
- A British/Irish crime movie
- A love letter to the history, architecture, and culture of the town of Bruges and its people
- Bloody and violent
- Known for having the word “fuck” and its various tenses appearing 126, an average of 1.18 “fucks” per minute.
In Bruges is about two hitmen laying low in an otherwise quiet and beautiful city at the behest of their boss after a job goes bad. Ken, played by a calm, avuncular Gleeson, is enchanted by the history and architecture and begins sightseeing tout suite. Open-mouthed and bright-eyed, he is overjoyed by the chance to spend sometime in such an old, unpretentious city. Ray, played to the douche-hilt by Ferrell, refers to Bruges loudly and often as a “shithole” and bitches nonstop about their location.
One of the most important qualities a hunter must possess is patience, and I am going to extrapolate that Ken must be the greatest hitman in the history of murder due to the unending patience he has when dealing with Ray. My GOD, does that man know how to FUSS. It’s also a fascinating character study to consider how patiently Ken puts up with such a difficult person, considering he could just off the guy and the world would be the better for it.
Ray really is his own worst enemy, as he can barely stay still five minutes without getting into some kind of trouble. He gets into an altercation with a nice American family by making fun of their “robust” build; he whines nonstop about their location and how bored he is; he begs Ken to let them go out and explore the city when they are supposed to wait at the hotel for their boss to call.
It’s all but impossible to avoid spoilers, but I want to say that the main theme of In Bruges is purgatory, or the place where you wait for judgment. AND THAT IS ALL I SHALL SAY. You’re smart, you can probably guess the rest!
Central to the plot is a little person, alternately referred to as a dwarf, a midget, Jimmy, and “that fuck who didn’t wave at me because he was on horse tranquilizers.” He plays a crucial role in a main character’s road to redemption.
It’s a hard movie to pin down – it worked hard to earn its R rating, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t see it, either. I’m an atheist, but I still appreciated its message of hope in the face of sorrow, of changing your ways, forgiveness, et cetera.
I can definitely recommend it as a great film, but I would say it’s probably not to everyone’s tastes. But all you can do is try!
In Bruges is currently available on Netflix Instant Watch.
EDIT: God I am dumb. I did this whole entry and meant to link to my friend Stephen’s blog entry about Bruges! He’s living in Germany and visiting as much of Europe as he can, and his blog is a great read for any travel buffs. Please jump over to his entry on Bruges!