Some movies stay with you long after you have seen them. They find a place in your heart and simply make it their home. In Bruges is one of those movies. I found it quite interesting that whenever I mentioned this movie as one of my all-time favorites, people would either say it’s a cool movie or just start ranting about how much they love it. It hit all the right things, starting with that fucking music. As someone who rarely listened to movie music (that intro from Black Hawk Down was my favorite), I have to admit that this movie changed my mind and I started paying much more attention to it. Both during and after the movie.
Composed by Carter Burwell, the music here is melancholic and beautiful at the same time. And when you combine it with the mesmerizing shots of this ancient city and interesting characters, you get one hell of an experience. In Bruges is a dark comedy about two hitmen spending a couple of days in the Belgian city of Bruges. Phenomenally written, it has everything you would want from a movie like this: action, drama, thrills, and finally that special brand of humor that’s pretty much reserved for British movies.
The guy responsible for all this is the director/writer Martin McDonagh, a British/Irish guy with a piercing vision. And this was his debut movie. I’m certain you’ll be reading more about him on Rabbit Reviews. Apart from gloriously black humor and stunning performances, the thing I liked most about In Bruges was its unpredictability. As soon as you get a sense that the story is going in one direction, it veers violently and humorously off-course. This adds a certain note of excitement to each of these beautifully framed scenes.
So, two hitmen walk into a bar in Bruges, Belgium… Ray is a young guy, inexperienced and jumpy, and he fucked up his first job so his teacher, a seasoned hitman that goes by the name Ken escorts him to Bruges, trying to figure things out. Trapped in this beautiful city, they have very different perceptions of what happened and what should be done. And on top of all that, their crazy boss Harry is starting to lose his nerves.
The cast of this movie was simply wonderful. Brendan, Colin, and Ralph were all great, immortalizing In Bruges for eternity. I am tempted to mention some of the exchanges, however, one of the scenes that jarringly pops up when I try to do this is Ralph’s phone call scene. Fuck me, that was simply stunning. With a story that seems a bit generic, In Bruges is actually full of surprises and surreal scenes. It’s so beautifully complex and well-thought-out that anything I write here seems like a drab copy not worthy of the original.
Surely, the setting was part of that mix. The medieval streets and buildings full of history make this city a priority if you’re visiting Europe. Finally, I want to add that if you’re not feeling like watching a crime movie about two hitmen, I urge you to push those feelings down and just watch this movie. You’ll thank me later. And if you’re looking for similar movies, I have to say that you’re going to have a hard time finding them.
Sure, the first couple of movies you’re going to think of are going to be Coen Brothers movies. Perhaps Fargo or No Country for Old Men. Or you’ll go straight for the jugular with Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. However, I would also direct your attention to Sexy Beast, a subversively humorous British crime movie. And speaking of British films, Snatch and Layer Cake are also good choices.
Director: Martin McDonagh
Writer: Martin McDonagh
Cast: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes, Zeljko Ivanek, Ciarán Hinds
Fun Stuff: The word fuck appears 126 times in the script, roughly 1.18 ‘fucks’ per minute.