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IN BRUGES...FUCKING GREAT
FILM REVIEW BY ANTHONY SHEPPARD

There is honor among thieves.  And apparently there is fucking honor among fucking assassins. 

In Bruges is an extraordinary movie on a number of levels: It’s funny, crass, violent, coarse, and stunningly politically incorrect.  At times it’s hard to tell if the audience is laughing at the jokes themselves or simply the fact that the jokes are even being told – and there are a couple of moments when laughter is replaced by slightly awkward silence.  It’s as if the screenwriters had somehow decided on a buddy movie about Irish hired gunmen during a gay black retarded midget bar fight at a Lisa Lampanelli concert. 

The central premise involves an “odd couple” of hitmen who have been sent to hide out in Bruges, Belgium - a beautifully preserved town of medieval buildings, mill pond-smooth canals, and wall to wall sugary goodness.  It’s the kind of improbably picturesque place where it’s virtually impossible to take a photograph for a postcard without capturing images of other photographers taking pictures for other postcards.  All of this culture at the expense of fun captivates Ken but exasperates the younger Ray, who is caught between his overwhelming boredom and his self-recrimination from a hit gone wrong.   

However the true beauty of In Bruges is not in its scenery, but in its script.  Rated R “for strong bloody violence, pervasive language and some drug use” it could live up to the rating for the language alone, multiple times over, with enough to spare for several other R rated movies and family gatherings.  But what that rating fails to capture is the unrelenting manner in which the movie manages to casually and humorously insult numerous groups of people, deliver blunt dialog from characters with no internal sense of censoring, and make psychopathic behavior and grievous bodily harm seem almost delightfully endearing.   And all of this is accomplished not only with outrageous laughs and a plot that borders on parody, but also with a surprising depth of sincerity and heart. 

Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell are Ken and Ray, and Ralph Fiennes is their deranged and explosively anger-driven employer Harry.  All deliver well, as does the diminutive Jordan Prentice as the seemingly gratuitous but integral little person Jimmy, whose own racism dwarfs even Ken, Ray and Harry’s effortlessly conversational bigotry and homophobia.  The supporting cast, all the way down to the smallest of roles (not another midget joke), is also noteworthy in its excellence. This is a movie that is tailor made for ensemble acting recognition, as well as writing kudos. 

As Harry might say, whatever the fuck else you do, be fucking sure to fucking watch In fucking Bruges.  fuck.

-Anthony Sheppard
tony@retrocrush.com

 

 

 

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