In Bruges: A Review

I joined my buds Darren, Richard and Mike for guys’ night out last night (they are all married; every night is guy’s night out for me ha). We saw a great guy’s movie, “In Bruges” starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. The movie premiered at Sundance, but I missed it there and was glad to see it last evening. I have low expectations of films in the early part of the year, but this film exceeded my expectations and I think will prove to be one of the better movies of 2008.

The film is among the best dark comedies I have seen, if you can call it that. The film is really more morality tale than comedy, though there are some witty lines. The film has rare dialogue in a feature film about guilt, sin, judgment and hell. I especially liked that the suspense was driven by character and not by action sequences. The film has a plethora or F words, which always still bothers even my not-so-virgin ears. I am no prude about cussing, but it just seems unrealistic and unnecessary. However, the language doesn’t seem so out of place for Farrell’s character. He is a rough hit man from the violent streets of Dublin, and he joins his partner played by Brendan Gleeson in the beautiful town of Bruges, Belgium.

One wonders how much the Belgian tourism agency paid the film studio to film in Bruges. The film at times seems like a tourist advertisement for Bruges. I have wanted to visit the place on prior trips to Europe, but it always seems a bit out of the way, and Belgium is never at the top of anyone’s list of places to visit. But this town has the charm of Amsterdam and the medieval feel of Prague. After seeing this film, it definitely is on my list of places to go. But apart from the enticing views of the city, the city acts as a critical part of the script and gives context to the story. It was an effective use of place.

This is a fun film with some pervading darkness that gives way to ethical choices that results in a tragic ending. It’s probably the best movie of 2008 so far, and not bad for a guys’ night out either.


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