Out Now On-Demand
Shootfirst first. Sightsee later.
Hitmen Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) have been ordered to relax in the medieval Belgian city of Bruges (pronounced 'broozh') by their boss Harry (Ralph Fiennes) to cool their heads for a couple of weeks after a difficult job.
They are both a bit out of place amidst the ancient architecture, canals, and cobbled streets; Ray hates the place but the fatherly Ken rather enjoys the beauty and serenity. But the longer they stay waiting for Harry's call, the more surreal their experience becomes, as they find themselves in weird encounters with locals, tourists, violent medieval art, a dwarf American actor (Jordan Prentice) shooting a European art film, Dutch prostitutes, and a potential romance for Ray in the form of Chloë (Clémence Poésy), who may have some dark secrets of her own.
Director McDonagh made Six Shooter, also starring Brendan Gleeson, which earned him the 2006 Academy Award for Best Live-Action Short Film.
Best Actor (Comedy) for Colin Farrell, Golden Globes 2009.
- Martin McDonagh(feature debut)
Rating: R16 Violence, offensive language, drug use
Ray (Farrell) and Ken (Gleeson) are two unassuming hitmen sent to the quaint Belgian town of Bruges to lie low after a job gone wrong. While their irate boss Harry (A vicious Ralph Fiennes) yells expletives down the phone line from London, they quietly explore the canals and cobbled streets, encountering everything from a dwarf to a beautiful French girl (Clémence Poésy), unaware that Harry has something big in store for them…
While he's usually the harbinger of a sub-par movie, Farrell is on top form here, giving his rookie Ray a big fidgety dose of ADD whilst still imbuing him with a loveable charm. Gleeson's Ken is a serene older presence and Fiennes is almost unrecognisable as a ratty gangster boss.
Some of the violence verges on ridiculous, but there's an eerie, slightly fantastical quality to the proceedings. Adding to the atmosphere is the brooding score by regular Coen Brothers collaborator Carter Burwell.
This is Irish playwright Martin McDonagh's first feature film, having previously helmed Oscar-winning short Six Shooter (Also starring Gleeson). His debut is a cleverly plotted, sharp-witted bit of entertainment, perfect to watch with a big crowd on a Friday night.
Chicago Sun-Times (Roger Ebert)
Empire Magazine [UK]
New York Times
Acting I felt
Thanks for the helpful reviews: Flicks and D F Stuckey.
The movie drew me in with feeling and fairy tale despite the verbal and physical violence. The movie is full of ironic humour, such as a hit man saving his target, and flawed characters who are quite ironic in themselves because of those flaws. In this setting, the one flawless character - the pregnant woman - is like a fine jewel in a tawdry setting.
The movie would have been better to have drawn out the bored to death in Bruges theme before introducing death himself. I've seen deleted scenes on the DVD and several should have been kept in the movie. But I guess they wanted to hold onto the audience who couldn't be counted on to wait for the expected action (see PIC_NZ's comment).
i thought this was very good. my friend and i saw it and laughed our heads off. extremely entertaining.
If you ever thought you weren't a good enough tourist
Absolutely perfect. I cannot think of a single thing to criticise.
Both moving and very funny. very enjoyable.
D F Stuckey
Oh, Belgium! Crime Drama In Deep Black Humour
Imagine LOCK STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS filmed by Sam Peckinpah from a script by Spike Milligan and Dave Allen and you might get some inkling of this movie; from the first, the casula swearing and cynical asides of Ken (Gleeson) and Ray (Farrell) set their charcaters as the sort of charmers that the IRA sent over to the USA to gain funding - And even when we discorver the brutal nature of their work we still find them likeable. Between the laughter and crass behaviour ( American tourists are victimised mercilessly, offensive jokes are fired at dwarves and Belgians, and the "F" word flows like 'this gay beer' ), and the stunningly violent actions of both our 'heroes' ( One which is literally a jaw-dropper) Gleeson puts forward an avuncular sense of interest in people and is simply divorcing himself from the last job and waiting for the next assignment, while Farrell loathes the place, acts like a sulky teen and is haunted by how hideously his first 'hit' has gone.
Things take a monstrous twist just as Farrell meets a possible romantic interest ( And a racist dwarf . . . ) and Fiennes comes into the scene like a dark vision of the evil within his two hirelings made manifest - despite a Cockney accent so authentic it's hard to reconcile with the urbane Fiennes. Yet of all the shocks and twists of this film, the greatest is that Colin Farrell gives a performance of incredible depth; from charming rogue to violent street punk, from Anti-American troublemaker to loquacious dwarf actor biographer, from petulant youth to victim of circumstance with a painful helplessness in the face of emotional response, he is always believable and even sympathetic - And with some truly memorable lines to deliver which he does in a manner that compares to any of the cast of WAKING NED DEVINE.
Highly recommended and even to those who loathe Farrell on sight - If this will not change your mind about his acting skill, nothing will.