DVD Talk
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
Blu-ray
International DVDs
Theatrical
Adult
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
XCritic.com
DVD Stalk
DVD Savant
High-Def Revolution
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum
Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

DVDTalk Info
Review Staff
About DVD Talk
Advertise
Newsletter Subscribe
Join DVD Talk Forum
DVD Talk Feeds


Special Offer

Search: For:
Reviews » Theatrical Reviews » In Bruges
In Bruges
Focus Features // R // February 8, 2008
Review by Brian Orndorf | posted February 7, 2008 | E-mail the Author
C O N T E N T
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Rent It
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
P R I N T
Printer Friendly
The intent of "In Bruges" is to manufacture a black action comedy, eager to tickle and horrify the audience with a rowdy display of bloodshed and cynical musings on hitman life. Unfortunately, the finished product is lost somewhere in the messily finger-painted tones; "Bruges" is a decent blast of uneasy cinema, but is ultimately crushed under the weight of its own self-adulation.

After a botched assassination, hired guns Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) are sent to the Belgium town of Bruges to avoid capture by London cops. While Ken finds the area's extensive history captivating, Ray gradually loses his patience and locates distraction with a local drug dealer and an American dwarf in town for a film shoot. When crime boss Harry (Ralph Fiennes) grows frustrated with the progress the two are making, he visits to sort things out himself, kick-starting a trail of violence that eventually points itself directly at Ray.

It's a credit to writer/director Martin McDonagh that "In Bruges" is cast so sharply. The actors save the film from itself, taking the sticky, over-polished lines and giving them a palpable dramatic weight that's missing from the writing. Gleeson and Farrell share tart chemistry as the Laurel and Hardy hitmen, bantering about the historical importance of Bruges and the weight of their guilt. They're terrific, and Fiennes adds the right dash of madness for the film's final act, swallowing Don Logan pills and shoving his way into the story, providing the film's lone moment of actual conflict.

If there was ever a case where casting made all the difference in the world, "In Bruges" would be it.

It's not that McDonagh's script isn't ambitious, it just doesn't know where to go after a nifty set-up that launches the performances off to a roaring start. Establishing Ray as a pesky free-thinker and Ken as the reflective tourist promises so much more than what "In Bruges" is willing to give. Instead, the story deteriorates into a more unorthodox journey for the characters that involves heavy drug use, Ray's fascination with dwarves, and pie-eyed discussion of an upcoming race war. Short bursts of extreme violence do nothing to slap the script awake.

Even if Ray detests his stay there, "In Bruges" does a marvelous job capturing the leisurely stroll of the city; perhaps more confident with locations than plotting. The film eventually gives way to a big-time shootout, showing some creative muscle rounding up the characters for the robust bit of endgame. It's a nice finale, but at the tail of an increasingly dreary and unsteady dark comedy.


For further online adventure, please visit brianorndorf.com
Buy tickets to "In Bruges" now!

Popular Reviews
1. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part I
2. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
3. American Sniper [AFI Fest 2014]
4. Still Alice [AFI Fest 2014]
5. Keep On Keepin' On
6. Mommy [AFI Fest 2014]
7. Interstellar (IMAX)
8. Clouds of Sils Maria [AFI Fest 2014]
9. Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem [AFI Fest 2014]
10. Faults [AFI Fest 2014]


Special Offers
DVD Blowouts
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Alien [Blu-ray]
Buy: $19.99 $9.99
8.
9.
10.
Special Offers
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Copyright 2014 DVD Talk.com All Rights Reserved. Legal Info, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use