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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 18 March 2013
In Bruges is quite simply a small masterpiece of movie-making. A narrative which is uncomplicated but very affecting, an immaculately judged script and dialogue, little flashes of humour, the best ever performance by Colin Farrell (of whom I am not normally a fan,) and another outstanding piece of acting by the ever-impressive Brendan Gleeson (so enjoyable in 'The Guard') all combine with the setting of Bruges' beautiful mediaeval architecture to create a film which is easy on the eye and touches the emotions in such an unexpected way.

This is as good as film-making gets on this side of the pond and is thus streets ahead of so much of Hollywood's popcorn fodder. Essential viewing for anybody who likes cinema which is human, intimate and accessible while touching on what it is to be human and fallible.

Highly, highly recommended.
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on 26 June 2008
Totally agree with the previous two reviewers. This is a film that deserves to be seen by loads of people, as it is truly hilarious!

Granted, it might not be everyone's cup of tea, as there is the odd bit of violence, and the humour is very dark and often non-PC. But hey, we're all adults right!? And anyway, one thing that surprises a little as the film unfolds is that it does actually have some morality at it's heart, as we witness Colin Farrell's character regret his past actions, and Brendan Gleesan's character see a chance for Farrell to find redemption.

The two leads are fantastic - with good chemistry - delivering the many amusing one liners with aplomb, as are the supporting cast, with Ralph Fiennes putting in a performance that will recall Sir Ben Kinsley chewing up the scenery in "Sexy Beast", and the midget (the character Ray's term, not mine!!! I can't seem to see his name on imdb) sending himself up in a manner that you will never forget.

Bruges itself is also a character in the film of course, and despite Ray's constant funny put downs of the place, it looks beautiful. So much so in fact that I now plan to go sometime...I just hope there's no Irish hitmen seeking refuge there when I do!

Great film, recommended.
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on 27 May 2008
A pretty self-explanatory title sets the premise here, well almost. Two hit men Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) are hiding out in Bruges after a hit that went horribly wrong and has terrible ramifications for one of these men. Following orders from a mysterious mob boss by the name of Harry, portrayed brilliantly by Ralph Fiennes the two hit men must make do in the city described as "something out of a fairytale" or as Ray summed it up "maybe that's what hell really is, to spend eternity in Bruges". It would be cruel of me to divulge too much of the plot so all Ill say is that this movie is easily the smartest, and hilarious laugh out loud comedies/dramas I can remember seeing. How the director manages to take a story about two men struggling to deal with the emotional baggage and the quite simply the guilt that comes with their profession, and combine it with totally appropriate moments of sheer comic genius mixed with nearly absurd passages, for instance the dwarf scene, enough said is quite an achievement. As is the way you begin too feel great sympathy for a group of not so ruthless killers who go to extraordinary lengths to simply stick by their principals. As one would expect the characters are a colourful bunch, Farrell getting up to or at least trying to get up to some mischievousness, or simply saying like it is, (American tourists beware). Then there's Ken trying to find some harmony in the surroundings and immerse himself in the culture and art of Bruges and in the process dragging a very reluctant Ray along with him. Then we have a string of interesting supporting characters, such as Chloë, Rays love interest, played by Clémence Poésy, (who was in "Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire") and the Jimmy the dwarf (Jordan Prentice)

Drugs, Sex, attempted suicide, botched hits, karate chopping scenes, perceptive drug fuelled thoughts on life, and a very meaningful dare I say grown up story which provides endless laughs but plenty of thoughts after its all over. The amazing cinematography along with all the talk about Bruges (whether or not the city is portrayed accurately or not is a matter of opinion) really makes the city itself become a character and a score that's not haunting but manages to convey the films darker tone perfectly. In Bruges is a brilliant mix of dark comedy and real human problems which manage to get the best out of a talented cast (easily the best performance I have seen from Colin Farrell). Needless to say a Film this brilliant will not end up being predictable or revert to formula, no it stays interesting and manages to surprise the viewer right up until the films griping conclusion. A fascinating character study filled with meaning and hilarity all the way, this is easily one of the best films so far this year. See it.
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The picturesque and photogenic medieval Belgium city of Bruges is the setting for this dark, comedic and marvellously entertaining movie, which sees an Irish hitman and his flawed apprentice ordered by their employer to remain there until further notice. A botched contract has deadly consequences for the three protagonists as issues of guilt, redemption and karma are explored within a screenplay very reminiscent of David Mamet at his best. The exchanges between Brendon Gleeson as the sardonic experienced assassin and Colin Farrell as his hyperactive trainee are priceless while Ralph Fiennes’ scene stealing performance as their ruthless (and ironically, principled) gangster boss has the same intensity as Ben Kingsley’s Don Logan in the Jonathan Glazer’s Sexy Beast. Despite being riddled with expletives and violence the film has an unexpected depth and poignancy, and due to the high quality performances of the lead actors a sympathy is engendered for characters we know to be murderers. Martin McDonagh’s screenplay effortlessly combines an acerbic humour with brutal incidents and tender reflections while the conclusion of the tale is almost Shakespearean in tone. I have watched this film a number of times now and it never fails to impress.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 18 October 2013
This 2008 film, written and directed by London-born, Irish heritage, film and theatre writer/director Martin McDonagh is a simply brilliantly engaging watch, and (for me) one of the finest (dark) comedies to emanate from the UK/Ireland in many years (as well as being a remarkable feature debut for McDonagh). Key to its success is undoubtedly McDonagh's razor-sharp and hilarious script, but praise should also, of course, be directed at the film's central pairing of two 'failing' hit men holed up in Bruges after a botched operation, Brendon Gleeson's more reflective, and culturally-enlightened 'elder statesman', Ken, and Colin Farrell's impetuous, earthy, mixed-up, 'street smart geezer' (if there is such a thing as an Irish geezer), Ray. For me, whilst Gleeson is (by now) expected to deliver impressive acting turns, either comic or straight (simply look at his work in the likes of Michael Collins, The Butcher Boy, The General, Breakfast On Pluto, The Guard, etc), Farrell, on the other hand, is something of revelation here, depicting a good deal of pathos as well as laddish qualities, in easily the best film turn I have seen from him.

Of course, the set-up for the film is pretty much entirely comic as the pair arrive in the historic, cultural centre of the city, Ray berating Ken for having been banished to such a 'dull' place - even during a sightseeing trip around the city's idyllic canals, quipping, 'Do you think this is good - going around in a boat looking at stuff?'. It is not until Ray reveals his 'guilty secret' from their botched hit, that the film adopts a more reflective mood, as the pair muse over their way of life, and feelings of guilt, humanity and the need for redemption emerge. Life gets more complicated (and darker) still when Ken is informed (by phone from the UK) by gangland 'Mr Big', Ralph Fiennes' acerbic and brutal Harry Waters, that Ray's misdemeanour must incur the ultimate price. However, although In Bruges has a central dark core (plus one or two rather fanciful plot developments), it is most memorable for a whole series of hilarious sequences including that where Ray chats up Clémence Poésy's drug dealer ('working' as a film-making assistant), Chloë, with some brilliant 'midget/dwarf banter', the restaurant scene (which, although rather gratuitous, is still brilliantly done, and features the killer line, 'You can't sell horse tranquiliser to a midget!') and Ken and Harry's final confrontation ('Don't come over all Gandhi!').

In addition to Gleeson and Farrell's excellent performances, Fiennes is great as the menacing gangland boss (a role which bears an uncanny resemblance to that of Ben Kingsley's Don Logan in Jonathan Glazer's Sexy Beast - a film with which In Bruges has a number of common elements), there is a cameo role for Dardennes Brothers' regular (and, I guess, 'honorary famous Belgian actor') Jérémie Renier as Chloë's 'ex-boyfriend', Erik, plus solid turns by both Poésy and Thekla Reuten as the defiant idealist and hotelier, Marie. A final mention should also be made of the poignant and reflective (largely piano-based) soundtrack composed by Carter Burwell, regular composer for the Coen Brothers (some of whose films In Bruges also resembles).

For me, certainly one of the finest comedies to emerge from these shores in the last couple of decades.
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on 15 July 2012
When reviewing a movie, you can generally get away with describing the first act; then the established situation changes and you're into spoiler territory. That point is usually about twenty minutes in but with this one it would be better for me to go no further than five.

After performing a job for their boss (Ralph Fiennes), a pair of hitmen (Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson) are sent to Bruges to await further instructions. And that's about as much of the plot as I can safely relate, since the ensuing narrative takes many a turn but does a great job of keeping you riveted throughout.

This is by no means an action thriller; although there are scenes where the tempo increases, it's a mostly character-driven comedic crime drama. Farrell and Gleeson are given some brilliant dialogue by writer-director Martin McDonagh, their interplay reminiscent of Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta in Pulp Fiction.

The Blu-ray boasts a state-of-the-art transfer with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 in English or Canadian French. Subtitles are similar with the addition of Latin American Spanish. Sensitive viewers beware: the three protagonists don't hold back when it comes to profanities.

I came to this with little expectation other than a recommendation from a friend, which I can now happily pass on. If you happen to be at a loose end for a couple of hours, you would be well-rewarded by spending them In Bruges (which, for the record, is in Belgium).
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on 29 December 2012
This is a superb film, funny, absurd, tongue-in cheek, bloody, brutal & quite moving. You suspect almost from the start the kind of end that awaits these characters, but the joy of the film lies in the clever progression of the plot towards this end & the way in which the final act of destruction wittily mirrors the original 'accident'. Beautifully paced, multi-layered, taut, not a word or scene is wasted. First class acting, directing & production; there are regrettably few films of this calibre
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on 3 May 2016
This is a brilliantly made (very) black comedy which entertains in a whole load of ways. All three of the guys play a blinder, Colin Farrell's comic timing and hilarious facial expressions are spot on, Brendan Gleeson is the serious one, Ralph Fiennes also a caricature psychotic but also like the others has a moral code in his heart - it's just not the same as other people's! (Check out his hilarious telephone call with Gleeson... "whaddayou mean not his fing? How can a fairytale not be his fing? Whaddayou on abaht?") His Cockney accent his so funny and way over the top.

Bruges as the backdrop is stunning, yet all the more sweet for me as I have never been there or even seen photos of the place. I might even go there now!

Highly recommended, and the "18" certificate isn't really necessary. It's a great comic adventure with a few drops of blood and a fair number of F-bombs and C-bombs, that's all. I'd say teenagers would understand and enjoy it without having any problem with the small amount of violence.
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the film is about a couple of hired killers 'Ray' (Colin Farrell) and 'Ken' (Brendan Gleeson) who accept a task to travel to 'Bruges' in 'Belgium', they are instructed by 'Harry'(Ralph Fiennes) to enjoy the 'sites' for a day or so and then he will contact them with details of the 'Hit'
However all is not what it seems. this film is clever, well crafted, with much in the way of subtle humour.
It is one of the funniest films i've seen for a very long time, though the story is about 'Violence' 'Killing' you have to see it to know just how good it really is.
'Colin Farrell' has been in many films i've seen in recent years, some good, some not so good, however...this, is, most certainly one of his best roles down the years.
Great Cast - Terrifically Entertaining - A Must See !
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on 7 October 2012
Prior to seeing this "In Bruges", I would have to admit that I've always felt that the film "Three colours: White" probably represented the apogee of black comedy in cinema. However, this film is an absolute masterpiece where every little component fits together like an intricate jig-saw to produce a wholly satisfying conclusion.

From the opening credits, it is clear that the cinematography is going to be exceptional but right from the initial conversation between the protagonists Ken and Ray it is the expletive-laden dialogue that raises this film well above the usual crome / gangster fair. Previously, I've never been a fan of Colin Farrell yet in this film is protrays a character who is a comic creation of genius even if he is weighed down by the pathos attributable to the "accident" that results in the two hitmen's hiding out in Bruges. The encounters with the American tourists, the lovely Clemence Poesy and the racist, coke-snorting dwarf are all high-points in a film that is expertly scripted and beautifully shot. I love the bickering between Ken and Ray as well as their philasophic discussions which have an air of skewed logic about them. The film is staggeringly non-PC and the ubiquitous use of the "f" and "c" words may be off-putting to some viewers but it wholly appropriate to the individuals. It's amusing that even the owner of the hotel (perhaps the film's ony sympathetic character?) ends up having a far better grasp of the foulness of the language that usually seems to escape most foriegners. Even the music seems particularly well chosen with Schubert's mornful "Winterriese" serving as a metaphor for the impending doom for most of the film's main characters. Only the mis-casting of Ralph Fiennes as a gang land boss seems a slight miscalculation. Gleason and Farrell are both fantastic.

In conclusion, this is a fabulous work of art and easily one of the very best films of the 2000's.
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