Movie Mind Says: Rent It
If You Like This You Should Watch: Get Carter
Better Than: Collateral
Worse Than: Trainspotting, Snatch
Starring: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes
You probably asked the same thing as The Movie Mind when you saw this title…where the hell is Bruges? That is exactly the question you are supposed to ask since part of the allure of this film relies on the anonymity of Bruges. In fact, I still don’t think I know what country it is in. It’s probably a safe bet to just assume it’s somewhere over the “pond” anyway. If I could only understand half the things they were saying I’m sure it would have been that much more entertaining. Nonetheless, it was a nice surprise for someone who doesn’t usually get British wit or anything with Colin Farrell (aka the king of the flop).
Ray (Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) are a couple of contract hitmen who need to lay low for a while after a botched job. Only they aren’t asked to go hide out, they are told where to go, when to leave, and how long to stay. Basically, they are to hide out and do some tourist stuff in Bruges (ok, now I know…it’s in Belgium). Why Bruges? Well, we are not privy to that information until the crescendo of the film and I can’t be at liberty to discuss. It’s unfortunate, because the reason for them being in Bruges is ripe with irony.
Ray is from Dublin and craves the action and hubbub that inhabits his homeland. To him, Bruges is hell. Although it doesn’t take all that long for him to find what Bruges lags behind in relation to Dublin: pubs, booze, drugs, women, and the trouble that come with them all. Ken is much happier doing the only thing people typically do when they visit Bruges: sightsee. Since that is painful to Ray, they strike up a deal to keep both parties satisfied. But as the days pass by without further instruction from their “boss” who wanted them hiding out, Ray’s patience grows thinner along with it. It doesn’t take too long before he has gotten into some trouble that will come back to bite him down the road.
One evening when Ray is out on the town, Ken gets that call from the boss-man (Fiennes) with a set of further instructions he was not prepared for. In fact, these orders begin to tear him apart inside. It is hear the revelations begin to unfold. What makes this a gripping story is how deep the characters are. Their roles in life as hitmen do not define them, and we are able to see that by taking them out of their element. It is in Bruges that we learn about who they are, or at least who they want to be. Farrell manages to be a conflicted soul and portray him in a twisted sympathetic manner. There’s a good chance for Farrell that as long as he keeps playing a-holes from Dublin he might begin to be considered a legitimate actor again.
There is nothing “typical” about this film. Everything from the lullaby beginning to the twist in the middle and clever ending is unique. The Movie Mind automatically bumps it up a few points for that. There was some clever dialogue which was helpful to keep the story moving. After all, the baseline of the film has to do with how bored one of the main characters is. If you can overcome the initial Colin Farrell shock (and subsequent fear that it could not be a good movie), the drab scenery (my apologies to the Bruges tourism commission), and heavy British accents, then you just may be in store for a pleasant surprise. Bruges wins points for originality, and an overall good film.
Interesting Cameo Appearance: Colin Farrell (seen in such gems as Phone Booth and Miami Vice) as Ray, the hitman with a real conscience. What is that you say…how could he be a cameo appearance when he is the title star? Easy…when Colin Farrell actually shows up for a role it is as shocking as a random cameo.
Ken: Coming up?
Ray: What’s up there?
Ken: The view.
Ray: The view of what? The view of down here? I can see that down here.
Ken: Ray, you are about the worst tourist in the whole world.
Ray: Ken, I grew up in Dublin. I love Dublin. If I grew up on a farm, and was retarded, Bruges might impress me but I didn’t, so it doesn’t.
Ken: Your girlfriend’s very pretty.
Jimmy: She’s ain’t my girlfriend. She’s a prostitute I just picked up.
Ken: I was not aware that there were any prostitutes in Bruges.
Jimmy: You just have to look in the right places… brothels are good.
Ken: Well, you’ve picked up a very pretty prostitute.
Jimmy: Thank you.
Ray: Maybe that’s what hell is, an entire eternity spent in f*cking Bruges.
Eirik: I was trying to rob him. And he took my gun from me. And the gun was full of blanks. And he shot a blank into my eye. And now I cannot see from this eye ever again, the doctors say.
Harry: Well to be honest it sounds like it’s all your fault.
Harry: I mean basically if you’re robbing a man and you’re only carrying blanks and you allow your gun to be taken off you and you allow yourself to be shot in the eye with a blank which I assume that the person has to get quite close to you then, yeah really it’s all your fault for being such a poof, so why don’t you stop whining and cheer the f*ck up.
Marie: Why don’t you both put your guns down, and go home?
Harry: Don’t be stupid. This is the shootout.
Ray: Do you think this is good?
Ken: Do I think what’s good?
Ray: You know, going around in a boat, looking at stuff?
Ken: Yes, I do. It’s called sight-seeing.
Ken: Well, here we are in a room with too manky hookers and a racist dwarf.
Ray: I don’t hit women. I would never hit a woman, Chloe. I’d hit a woman who was trying to hit me with a bottle. That’s different. That’s self-defense, isn’t it? Or a woman who could do karate. I would never hit a woman generally, Chloe.