Thursday, November 11, 2010

In Bruges. A-

Two hitmen travel to a city in Belgium called Bruges, and we immediately expect they're there for some sort of business. But after a while we realize that they're not doing anything but living as typical tourists. One, Ken (Brendan Gleeson) is interested in sightseeing, while the other, a bored youngster named Ray (Colin Farrell), seems content just insulting other tourists. He's got a mean streak in him, but also some charisma that helps to win over Chloe, a beautiful crook pretending to be part of a film production team. Then we get a crucial scene that shows Ray shooting a priest during his first job, and in the process, killing a child. We then see that Ray is fraught with guilt over this, uncertain what sort of redemption one can get for killing a kid. We also learn that the boss, Harry (Ralph Fiennes), has principles, and one is that no children get hurt. Ken is a perfect partner to Ray, offering support and sympathy without being too sentimental about it. And this is what I loved about this movie, that it's about hitmen on vacation, which offers the freedom to explore their personal troubles. But there is a brilliantly structured plot as well, one that uses nearly every detail in the film to bring all the characters to one spot on one night. There's a great deal of comedy in the movie, but I didn't appreciate it as much as the way the actor's dealt with it. They allowed their characters to crack jokes, complain, argue, laugh, but didn't actually let it overshadow the somber elements of the story. In Bruges is a sumptuous blend of comedy, action, and pathos, a kind of movie we don't see often, which just makes it all the better.

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