Thursday, April 2, 2009

Day Eighty: In Bruges (2008) - Rank 4/5

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The trailer, and even the poster for this film fool you from the very start. The advertising leads you to believe that the picture is a guns blazing, action flick. Woe to the viewer that expects this for it never comes. I, however, was pleasantly surprised by the mature story by writer/director Martin McDonagh presented. Typically, tales of hit men are characterized by elaborate shoot-outs throughout the film and obsessed with upping the death count at every turn. "In Bruges" takes that stereotype and turns it on its head by preoccupying its gunmen with life.

Ray (Colin Farrell ) is a novice on the lamb after his first job went awry (he accidentally shot a young child in a church when taking down his mark. He and his mentor Ken (Brendan Gleeson) are sent to Bruges, Belgium to lie low until the smoke clears. While Ken relishes all the city has to offer, embracing life to its fullest as a tourist, Ray views the city as hell and contemplates suicide out of grief from his mistake. When their boss Harry (Ralph Fiennes) calls and demands that Ken "deal with Ray," the hit man is torn between killing a friend or losing his own life so that Ray can move on and learn to appreciate his.

Don't misinterpret my summary and assume the film is all introspection and depression (they're in Belgium, not Sweden). There are shootouts, plenty of dark humor and drunken midgets with hookers. But these almost outlandish elements are so exquisitely blended with the rest of the story, the film never feels uneven or forced. It comes across as a genuine love letter to the duo, as well as to their city of refuge.

Watch the Trailer

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