Sunday, October 2, 2011

In Bruges


In Bruges; black crime comedy, UK/ Belgium, 2008; D: Martin McDonagh, S: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes, Clémence Poésy

Christmas. After an ill-executed assassination of a priest, where a little boy died as a collateral damage, two British assassins, Ray and Ken, get the assignment to hide in Bruges, Belgium, until further notice of their boss, Harry. Ken is intrigued by the architecture while Ray starts dating Chloe, a girl he met on a movie set. When Ken disobeys Harry's instructions to eliminate Ray, Harry arrives personally in Bruges to kill them both. He shoots Ken and Ray, but in the end commits suicide after he figures he accidentally killed a collateral person in the duel.

Another hyped and critically acclaimed movie of the assassin genre, "In Bruges" is a proportionally clever written and executed directorial debut by Martin McDonagh, neatly filmed besides the opulent landmarks of the eponymous Belgian city, yet, as a whole, it is still uneven: it contains too much sentimentality (regarding the subplot where Ray feels guilt after accidentally killing a little boy) but too little real humor, unless someone finds that midgets are somehow particularly funny on their own. While the story flows around the two main protagonists, Ken and Ray (Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell, who even won a Golden Globe as best actor in a musical or comedy), it manages to engage thanks to a few neat touches, yet ultimately lacks that special touch: one of the few rare examples of truly genius, inspirational comic timing is when Ken is about to shoot the oblivious Ray, who is sitting in front of him on a bench, in a park, but just as he is about to pull the trigger, the depressed Ray suddenly puts a gun on his own head, so Ken cannot help himself but to - save his life! Another good example is the horse tranquillizer dialogue. However, "In Bruges" is truly excellent only when boss Harry (fantastic Ralph Fiennes) is on the screen: he is so cynical, witty and just plain clever that practically his every line is a riot - for instance, after Ken called to say that he disobeyed him, Harry angrily slams his phone on the desk, again and again, until his wife enters his room and says: "It's a phone! It's an *inanimate* object!" - and thus steals the show. As much as it tries, "In Bruges" does not strike strike the right balance between crime and comedy, obvious in a few heavy handed scenes, as it was the case with the harmonious and superior forerunner, "Grosse Pointe Blanke", no matter how overlooked it is.

Grade:++

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