Martin McDonagh, an Irish playwright who won the Oscar for his short film Six Shooter, reveals immense talent as a writer/director with his first full-length film. A Sundance favorite, In Bruges is an original, offbeat and darkly comical caper film that twists and turns in compelling and unpredictable ways.
Brendan Gleeson is brilliant as Ken, one of a pair of hit men sent to Bruges, a medieval Belgian town, along with his partner in crime, Ray, played by Colin Farrell in probably his best performance. Ken and Ray have been dispatched to this storybook Flemish town by their capricious boss, Harry (Ralph Fiennes), but neither is clear why.
The surprisingly paternal Ken makes the best of their mysterious assignment by sightseeing, reading about and enjoying the town's scenic beauty. Ray is miserable, his gloom augmented by an overwhelming sense of guilt for a crime he committed that went bad. These are assassins who seem more like ordinary fellows with surprising moral codes, despite their occupation.
Though it sounds tough to rationalize, you find yourself simply accepting the terms of the film and going along for this unusual and very entertaining ride. Gleeson and Farrell have a wonderful chemistry, and their one-on-one moments are a highlight. Also winning are their often hilarious encounters with a slew of odd and unsavory characters. Ray is drawn to an attractive local woman, who is associated with a surreal film in the making.
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