In Bruges - Movie Review
No. I don't know how to pronounce it either. I have called it "In Broogs," and "In Brugs." "In Brooszch" seems like the closest to what's right, but I'm still not really sure. But what's great about the characters in this film premier by play-write Martin McDonagh, is that they're not really sure either. In Bruges is a movie about being in a place you're not really sure of, living a life you aren't quite certain about, and being accountable to guidelines in a world without rules.
Ray and Ken both show up in the city after recently fulfilling a contracted asassination. Ray (Colin Farrell) did the job, but in the process also found himself responsible for the murder of a young boy. Ken (Brendan Gleeson), as the more experienced player, is held accountable for Ray's work. Meanwhile, their boss Harry(Ralph Fiennes) isn't happy in the least. Ray broke an unspoken rule in a line of business where one's principles are the only laws left to abide, and Harry is ready to collect.
What follows after that is uniquely determined by the character's choices rather than events. The entertainment value isn't neccessarily found in what happens, but how the characters react to what happens. Despite being hitmen, they are undeniably governed by their morals, moreso than any other character in the film. They are willing to kill what they have to, but if they're target happens to be suicidal they'll try to provide them with hope for their life. There's a unique irony, one that is darkly comforting, in how the film understands that the only life worthy of being lost is one that is comfortable with it's own existence.
The film is at times, quite hilarious in it's details. Ray is a man tortured by his concience, until his childlike curiosity sparkles like fireworks after seeing a midget being filmed on camera. Ken is a businessman who finds himself immersed in Bruges' unique history. Harry is an undeniable killing machine, but he has a strict sense of morals so high that he'll give his target a head start if there's someone in the way. Exactly how all these character quirks come into play works on so many levels that I'm willing to say it's simply brilliant, and it's integrated so well into the story that it's indescribable without telling every single detail the film provides.
In terms of immersion, the film was over far sooner that I expected. It's uncannny for a movie filled mostly with dialogue to seem so short, but the characters know exactly how to spend their time. The film is written with a concise knowledge of what is necessary, what is fun, and it finds a balance where nothing is expendable. Rarely is there a film so well calibrated that it manages to be fun, surprising, dark, and introspective all at once, but In Bruges is brave enough to be just that. It reaches into the depths while seeing that glimmer of light at the top. In doing so, the film becomes a character itself. It sticks to it's own set of morals while revealing our own. It's not willing to tell us what to laugh at, and it's not willing to tell us what to mourn. It's more interested in what you have to say.