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In Bruges Review

February 15, 2009

I’m going to keep this short and sweet. I’ve seen In Bruges on a couple of top ten lists and nominated for a couple of awards, including the Best Original Screenplay Oscar. I wasn’t too excited about it, however, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. The plot about a couple of hitmen having to flee to Bruges because of a botched murder didn’t exactly reek of hilarity or originality to me. It didn’t help matters much that the first 20-30 minutes of the movie were boring enough for my girlfriend and best friend to quit watching it. I wasn’t exactly intrigued either, but I didn’t want stop watching it and hold onto it for several months instead of sending it back to Netflix, so I stuck it out… and I’m glad I did.

If you can stick out your initial boredom, you’ll actually find yourself watching a pretty funny film that is highlighted by the best performance of Colin Farrell’s career. I’m going to go ahead and spoil something that I don’t think is that important by saying that the characters of Farrell and Brendan Gleeson find themselves in Bruges because Farrell has accidentally killed a child while assassinating a priest and his boss (played fantastically by Ralph Fiennes) intends to give him one last vacation before his partner is to kill him.

What really stands out about In Bruges is the great dialogue the actors have to play with. The script is pretty good and gets much funnier in the second half of the film. I’m not exactly sure how this film gets nominated in the screenplay category while The Wrestler, a much superior film does, but it is a solid effort. Colin Farrell’s character is especially funny and is given several unique scenes to display his somewhat morbid sense of humor. Harry, the boss played by Fiennes, is the highlight of the film, however. I’ve never really thought of Fiennes as funny, which may be why his work in this movie really stands out as hilarious… although it is weird to see him being called “Harry,” whom he has been trying to destroy for two films as Lord Voldemort.

In Bruges is a pretty funny character piece. It’s more of a dramedy than a full blown comedy… and the pacing is troublesome at times, especially the first act of the film. It picks up nicely though and I found it to be a pleasant surprise. It’s not a must see, but it’s worth watching for its humor and for a Colin Farrell performance actually worth watching.

Score: 6 out of 10 (Recommended)

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