Famed stage director Martin McDonagh has crafted a hilariously bold feature-film debut. Through his devilish screenplay, McDonagh isn’t afraid to openly discuss hot-button issues as a source of character development.
Ken and Ray are two hitmen hiding out in the quiet, beautiful Belgium town, after a job gone very wrong. During their long-winded bickering chats, the men engage in riotous tirades, constantly poking fun at one another. This is where it gets racy. The men, mostly the young, ambitious, troubled Ray, aren’t afraid to have a laugh at the expense of the mentally and physically handicapped, Dwarfs, minorities, Americans, the Dutch and whatever else pops into their heads.
Ray, played with expert bravado by Colin Farrell, uses his black-as-night dark humor to hide his insecurities, to make up for the void in his life. Farrell has never been better. His humor is spot-on, his emotions are triggered brilliantly. Farrell shows that he has something here; with In Bruges, he reminds us of his supreme talent.
The other half of the dynamic duo is played by fantastic character actor Brendan Gleeson. Gleeson has dazzled us with supporting turns in Gangs of New York, 28 Days Later, and the Harry Potter films, but In Bruges is his finest accomplishment. If there is a reason to give the man a leading role, this film is it. Few other actors can effectively portray such a multitude of emotions on their face at the same time. His Ken is a warm-hearted man, plagued with ultimatums, most of which are delivered by his menacing boss, Harry.
By the time Ralph Fiennes gets onscreen he will have knocked you flat on your ass with his wild bantering. His Harry is a psychologically demented man, with strong morals to boot.
There is no use in describing the plot. It’s too unique. McDonagh echoes Tarantino and Scorsese with his sharp words and (at times) heavily violent content. It is an original piece of work, that shows much promise from a new voice in the world of film.
It’s important to acknowledge that what these people are saying is offensive, but these people lead offensive lives. Much in the way of Borat, there is no greater feeling then having to clamp your hands around your mouth, in an attempt to shut yourself up, trying not to ask yourself “Should I be laughing at this?”. A-