Sunday, 15 June 2008

In Bruges

This weekend, I had the chance to check out this black comedy starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson as two hitmen hiding out in Bruges after a job, with a Ralph Fiennes doing a creditable cockney geeza gangland boss, back in England calling the shots.

The stunning backdrops of European capital provide a counterpoint to macabre comedy, as Colin plays a young upstart, frustrated at being trapped, far away from home, as the odd couple have to play pretend as tourists, for cover, while waiting for instructions from the big boss man. It's a surreal trip in some ways, with fat Americans, a dwarf in school uniform, copious amounts of cocaine, and hookers down from Amsterdam all form part of the journey in a bitterly comic examination of the value of human life. It's not for the easily offended.

Farrell's acting is wayward at times, Fiennes does a respectable turn as something other than posh English gent, but Gleesons' avuncular character holds the piece together. In some ways a bit of a British gangster movie uprooted and plonked in a derided European city, the film feels like a stage play at times, and it comes as no surprise that it is the first feature for Anglo-Irish playwright Martin McDonagh.

It feels somewhat overwrought because of this, with self-conscious references to other movies such as Don't Look Now, and perhaps a few too many twists and turns, as a friend of mine suggested. In this sense it does feel like the film maker is a little too trying too hard, but he doesn't need to. Overall, a funny, well observed, thought-provoking 2 hours of viewing....

Hack Rating 3.5/5

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