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Review of In Bruges

In BrugesFirst off, if you haven’t seen In Bruges and aren’t planning to – you should. It’s not without its flaws, but it is very, very good. I liked it, anyway.

The film struck more than anything as a cross between Father Ted and … well, insert the title of some fairly brutal crime film here … let’s say Reservoir Dogs as I can’t think of anything else right now. Brendan Gleeson’s character is Ted, Colin Farrell is Dougal, and Ralph Fiennes is Bishop Brennan. Kind of, anway.

It’s not laugh-out-loud hilarious, but it’s certainly dryly, blackly humorous (in the funny parts, anyway) and is full quirky dialogue, dialogue that’s often verbose and repetitive but delivered in a quick-talking deadpan. A bit like this:

Ray: Look, Ken. I grew up in Dublin, and I love Dublin. If I had grown up on a farm, and was retarded, Bruges might impress me. But I didn’t, so it doesn’t.

Or this:

Ken: Harry, let’s face it. You’re a cunt. You’ve always been a cunt. The only thing that’s gonna change, is that you’re gonna be an even bigger cunt. Maybe have some more cunt kids.

Harry: You fuckin’ retract that bit about my cunt fucking kids

Ken: I retract that bit about your cunt fucking kids.

Harry: Insulting my fucking kids? That’s goin’ overboard man!

Ken: I retracted it, didn’t I?

It’s got just a tiny bit of swearing in it too.

The two main characters are hitmen who have been sent on a trip to Bruges in the aftermath of a job. It’s starts off quite jolly, Dougal/Farrell (‘Ray’) constantly pissed off at being there at all, Ted/Gleeson (‘Ken’) trying to make the best of an odd situation. Although we know that they’ve killed someone, it seems quite lighthearted; Farrell plays up the childish aspects of his character – perhaps a little too much. Then, in a flashback, the truth about their situation is revealed – and it’s pretty horrible.

So the fillum is – ostensibly, anyway (and anyway, how many times can I use the word ‘anyway’ in this review?) … ostensibly – about guilt and redemption. While the characters talk about these things, I don’t think the story itself deals with such issues in any great depth … perhaps it’s more accurate to say that the protagonist’s redemption is beyond the story’s remit: there are some large, dark blanks to be filled in when the credits roll. Anyway, the plot gradually gets more contrived and the climax is ironic in a very heavy-handed way.

Despite these problems, In Bruges is a very likeable, occasionally very moving film – it made me nearly cry more than once (not actually cry – I’m not a girl). Anyway – anyway, anyway, anyway – I think you’ll enjoy it.

Anyway.

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