The Silent Majority

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In Bruges

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In Bruges

Have you ever been to Bruges?

It’s in Belgium.

(North of France)

Bruges is the most well preserved “rustic” Medieval city in all of Europe, the notable stop between Antwerp, Brussels and Gent, appealing to those of you interested in Chocolate and Lace. If however you’re not at all interested in Chocolate and Lace, then Bruges is a shit hole with rivers and old buildings and that.

And ‘lo we are introduced to IN BRUGES, the not quite crime, not quite comedy, not quite contemplation on the good-and-bad of humanity, first feature of writer/director Martin McDonagh.

Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) are two hit men sent to hideout in Bruges after a hit goes wrong, waiting for the authoritative word next step from boss-man Harry (Ralph Fiennes). While Ken plays the quiet tourist as he’s told, Ray begins his self-destructive contemplation of the human spirit and spends as much time as possible with the pretty girls around the Belgian film shooting in town.

The tightest, cleanest and darkly funniest film you didn’t see in 2008, IN BRUGES, exists to disprove your expectation. It’s certainly not a crime flick, though it does feature hit men and a gunfight or three. It’s certainly not a comedy, though it is hilarious. And it’s certainly not a Belgian film, though set entirely in Belgium and has one good Belgian joke.

IN BRUGES is a tightly wound film that uncoils slowly and purposely, using every small speck of detail very carefully and meticulously. No dialogue unnecessary. No scene out of place. Everything from the change in Ken’s pocket to the alcoves to Harry’s bullets of choice wraps itself into the film and becomes essential to the story. Everything, absolutely everything, is explained in due course and even the darkest moments are balanced with enough laughs to not leave you in the dark when the screen goes black.

A smart, witty and acerbic film that defies conventions by placing them carefully where no one expects to find them: In Bruges.

I’ve been to Belgium. I’ve been to Bruges. And the only thing out of place is IN BRUGES’ poster in the Tourist Information Center. Odd, considering the filmmakers take so much careful time relentlessly mocking Bruges’ rustic old buildings and that. But what can you expect? The film is English and everyone in Belgium speaks Dutch or French. They’re asking for it.

– – Timothy Legion

Timothy Legion is not presently read, looked to or admired. He created a newspaper (pamphlet) at his University that is fondly remembered by six people. He has not won any awards or been considered for nominations. He is wrist-deep in the Third Year of his self-imposed GLORIOUS FIVE YEAR PLAN.

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Written by thesilentmajoritysays

February 9, 2009 at 12:01 PM

Posted in comedy, crime

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