Going into the film expecting a slapstick comedy is not what one should expect upon entering into the film. Rather, you should embrace yourself for a very heavy drama with lots of comedy throughout, with some action sprinkled in occasionally. I saw the film with low expectations and this is what I got:
Academy Award winner Martin McDonagh starts off his feature film debut with In Bruges, a film about two hitmen sent to Belgium to cool off after a job gone wrong. Seems simple, doesn’t it? Believe me, the plot gets thicker and thicker, but the pacing is fantastic. So whilst the film is hard to get through like 40cm deep snow, we find that it’s highly to enjoyable frolic in what you’ve got. McDonagh’s direction – using the hand-held camera technique that the Dardenne’s perfected to a T – is overwhelming. Most would think that he’s going for a Guy Ritchie type flick, but it’s so much more in tune with humanity than any of his films. McDonagh is a director to be on the look out for in the future. This years Reitman, in my opinion.
Martin McDonagh also wrote the script. As funny as the film was, it was equally as emotionally draining. Any film that can go full circle in both spectrum’s is an amazing one without a doubt. Every character is three dimensional, leaving no room for someone to digress against the authenticity of the characters. Even the seemingly cartoonish villain turns out to have more to him than one would expect. All in all, the writing is some of the sharpest I’ve ever seen, and it certainly deserves all of the praise it’s getting as of now, if not more so.
As far as the performances go, all three main actors give some of their best work to date.
Ralph Fiennes plays the foul-mouthed, constantly enraged antagonist, Harry. Only as Fiennes can do, he creates a character not unlike one you would see in a cheesy action movie, but the difference is that Fiennes is diligent in his craft, and that the script was far from cheesy. With these two factors, the ‘cheesy’ role comes off as imaginative, leaving all the viewers loving the character for some reason; whether it be hate or respect, either way, you’re getting into a fun mess when you’re dealing with Harry. Fiennes plays Harry better than anyone else that comes to mind could, and pulls it off with better execution than most. Great performance.
Brendan Gleeson plays Ken, the other piece of the hitman duo. Unlike Ray, Ken is a much more sophisticated and laid back character. His wit and dry humor are perfect for the film, because while he does bring a big dramatic vibe to the film, he is used for a lot of great humor as well. The role seems tailor made for Gleeson, in that his appearance is perfect for the role, and his calming demeanor only adds to that testament. Sadly, the only downside about this entire role is that the character isn’t very deep for most of the film; he’s just kind of there. Fortunately, when something occurs to said character, the film really gets interesting, as does Gleeson in the role. Such a realistic performance. Nonetheless, very well written character played by an underrated, yet amazing actor.
Onto the best part about the movie, Colin Farrell. He plays Ray, the hitman with a terrible emotional disturbance. Not only is Farrell key in his dramatic scenes, but he is also so hilarious that he can bring tears to your eyes. On first glance, you’d think Farrell wouldn’t be right for a role with so much emotional range and humor, but he was beyond perfect. Honestly, I don’t know how to express my views on his performance without having many thoughts bottled up in my mind and the only thing I can say is perfect. Well, that and “Fucking Bruge”