JT Film Review

111 – In Bruges (2008)

In Bruges REVIEW

5/5 stars

Director – Martin McDonagh

Cast – Brendan Gleeson, Colin Farell, Ralph Fiennes, Clémence Poésy, Jordan Prentice, Thekla Reuten


In Bruges features Brendan Gleeson (Ken) and Colin Farell (Ray) as hitmen who have been ordered by their boss Harry, played by Ralph Fiennes, to “hide out” in the Belgian town of Bruges after Ray botched a kill. Botched as in “killed a little kid as well as the target”.

The town of Bruges, in Belgium, is a quaint little town. Some may find it boring. Ray certainly does. Ken on the other hand relishes the medieval atmosphere and the sights which can be seen. He pulls Ray around with him, walking through the winding streets or going on little boat tours of the idyllic canals. The only time we see Ray get excited is when he sees a film crew filming a dream sequence at night. “Look, they’re filming midgets!” Ray is not too bright. Thankfully, Ken is. Yin and yang.

Apparently the idea for this film came from writer/first time director Martin McDonagh’s trip to Bruges. He found himself intrigued by both the wonder and boredom he found himself feeling. This is key to the movie’s tone. It is a comedy, but a pitch black one, even to the point of melancholy. It has the feel of a dying man finding something hilarious. Farell and Gleeson play their two sides of this particular coin very well. Farell in particular reveals comic talents I never knew he had. These are fully dimensional characters, but sketched very minimally, fleshed out perfectly by the actors. By the end we find ourselves believing utterly in every move these two make.

I should also mention that the actions the characters take and the directions in which the movie goes are almost totally devoid of cliché and routine. It truly is difficult, even impossible, to guess where the movie will go. The plot is a result of the characters actions, not visa versa. This is so refreshing to see.

Unfortunately, many will find In Bruges’ weird mix of serious comedy and dramatic lunacy to be a turn off. It’s too different, too unpredictable. It is of course for this very reason that I am commending this movie. It was certainly not made for too mainstream an audience, and for that I am eternally grateful.


In Bruges is weird, wacky, and wonderful. It is quick-witted, unique without labouring the point, and full of strong characters.  This is truly the result of a director with a unique vision who managed to dodge all the studios usual meddling. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to see a different kind of movie.



“In Bruges” on other websites:

IMDB —– Rotten Tomatoes —– Wikipedia



October 2, 2010 - Posted by | 5 Stars, Film Review, Genre - Crime, Year - 2000-2009 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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