Monday, December 15, 2008

Places to Go - In Bruges

LowRes and someone else (sorry, can't remember now) got very excited about In Bruges' 3 Golden Globe nominations so I finally got off my ass to go see it since I had sort of wanted to during its theatrical run and then just never got around to going.

Well, just like Bruges itself, the movie is quaint, charming, contemplative and very violent. Okay, Bruges is not very violent at all but they will give you a nasty stare if you speak to them in French (you're better off speaking English and not connecting yourself to the french side of the Belgian country). But the medieval canals make this little town a short train ride away from Brussels totally worth it. And have some Belgian chocolate and waffles while you're there too! (Neuhaus chocolates though. Expensive but totally delicious!)

The movie is a bit of a love-letter to the city of Bruges and at the same time, shows what a slow little boring town it can be (like any small town really). The two views are sort of epitomized by Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell's characters who are both hilarious and yet tragically sad characters.

Farrell is surprisingly terrific in this, playing a man-child dealing with the past while being stuck in the purgatory of Bruges. He's so cute and plays up the adorable naiveness of his hitman character all while being a little frightening on the verge of violent breakdowns. He really needs to play "comedy" more. In theory I like Farrell but I haven't really seen anything recently of his that's noteworthy so I'm pleased to see he really hasn't lost his touch or his charisma, he just needs to find the right film that can use him properly. It's also nice to hear his actual accent and not some fake American one.

Gleeson is always good so nothing really to add here. Ralph Fiennes has a small part as the big boss and is terrifically nasty even as he's terrifically moral (somehow it makes sense in the movie).

The movie is Martin McDonagh's first time directing on film but he's a famous playwright on Broadway known for his funny but violent plays like The Lieutenant of Inishmore, The Pillowman, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, none of which I have ever seen but had always wanted to. Now that I've seen this movie (after always wanting to), I think I should go check out his dark comedic plays.

In Bruges = A- or 9/10

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