In Bruges (It's a fairy tale city)
"How's a fairytale town not somebody's fucking thing?"
I heard about 'In Bruges' ages ago, in passing, and never really paid any attention to it. But Award Shows are a secret weakness and I usually end up compiling a list of the most interesting looking movies.
The easiest to get my hands on was 'In Bruges' and having just finished watching it, well, I must say it deserves a review.
In Bruges is about two hitmen who end up hiding out in Bruges on the orders of their...hitman boss?
Colin Farrell plays "Ray" the younger of the two who loves nothing more than the pub and is about as deep as Keanu Reeves. In a 'city well preserved from the Medieval days' Ray would rather do...well anything other than sight see, and I'd have to say he was a pretty cool character. He managed to be a very light character, and even when the thunderclouds started to roll in, it had that much more of an impact because of the contrast between the character and the situation around him.
Granted, I care more about the story itself, and the characters than I do about the actors, BUT, I'd have to say I really liked Colin Farrell in this. You can only really be truly engrossed into the characters when the actor has a good grasp on the role, and Colin Farrell had me at, "Why the fuck are we in Bruge?"
Brendan Gleeson plays "Ken", the older of the two hitmen and the more...culturally oriented. He enjoys the city, and he loves to sight see, and he has the maturity that is lost on Ray. He feels at times more like a babysitter, but he humours Ray, and though he has to resort to explaining things to him, (which are in most cases completely ignored) they still have a good dynamic. Again, Brendan Gleeson's acting is great, and I enjoyed it.
The background shots were stunning, painting a picture of Bruge, which was nice, and it seemed to show off the city, which was good. Though it really did feel like it was a few buildings and the rest of the scenes were just added in shots when someone ventured out of the square most of the movie took place in.
The comedic value is not lost, and I really enjoyed the conversations between Ray and Ken because they had such a strong, almost tangible dynamic. The plot kept moving forward in spite of such light bantering, AND what I enjoyed the most about it was that in the end, everything tied together with no loose ends.
I also liked that the movie presented ideas that were almost outside of the story in a way, but completely relevant. And they spelled it out to you too. It was like being in your English Lit class and having your teacher say, "THIS PLAY IS ABOUT DEATH, THE AFTER-LIFE, SINS, ATONEMENT, PUNISHMENT, GUILT, ETC." It lead you along the right trail of thinking, and beyond that point it allowed the themes to flourish on their own.
The only problem I had with the movie was that I, being Canadian, am used to an American/Canadian accent, (not implying that they are similar, however the Canadian swears a lot more than the American in this), and am not used to strong UK accents, (IRISH and English I think?) In the beginning, some of the dialogue was lost on me, and so much attention needed to be paid to what the fuck they were saying, and rewinds were a necessity.
In Bruges was brilliant. The ending made me weep, (partially because it ended, partially because of the ending itself) and I will contemplate an answer for it for quite a while. The loyalty between friends, not just the main relationship, was a dynamic that I felt was brilliantly true to the characters as they had been presented. The comedic breaks in tension served to, at times, enhance the tension, or ease up on us a little, or even be so perpetually heartbreaking that the scene became even more stunning, and in the end, In Bruges is definitely a movie I would recommend to my friends.
I'd also like to add that, while people on the internet seem to claim that "In Bruges" is modern, and realistic, I would only claim it as one of those two. In Bruges is modern, not realistic. On what universe would two hitmen having the same 'adventures' in Bruges be classified as plausible? Besides, I've never MET any hitmen, but I'd imagine they aren't the same sort of lovable characters as Ray and Ken. Though they could be, I've never actually MET any hitmen, but I'm assuming neither have you. Hence, you can't classify it as REALISTIC just based on that because...let's face it, have you ever met any real hitmen?
Pushing that aside, I would also like to state that, (as an avid debate yesterday managed to point out to me), In Bruges has so many sheer coincidences that it is pretty unrealistic. What I liked about the movie was that all the characters had a solid part to play, and none were squandered. Though, let's face it. That is pretty coincidental.
This brings me to the 'modern' part about the internet's raving, and this, I agree with. Which is the reason why I put 'fairy tale' in all the quotes I've ripped off this movie. In Bruges is exactly like a fairy tale. The COINCIDENCES follow the same general pattern as a fairy tale, where all the characters are very tightly interwoven, (THE witch in the forest reappears at the end of the tale to tell the princess that she's secretly a pumpkin or someshit, and the rat who's tail the queen bit off is actually her husband, etc.) The characters you can identify with, at least one some level, (we're not princess or hitmen, but we can relate with the Princess when she says she's scared of the dark, and we can relate with the hitman when he can't sleep before he's shared his latest news). And the moral of the story IS the theme that runs throughout the movie. It's brilliantly played, and it really is a modern fairy tale. Not entirely for children, granted, but the almost surreal elements within it play up this idea perfectly. Watch In Bruges as a movie. And then re-watch it as a fairy tale, and you'll see what I mean.
"Maybe that's what 'ell is, an entire eternity spent in fucking Bruges."