Director: Martin McDonagh
Focus Features/Universal Studios
I’m a big supporter of Christmas being in all things. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. It’s when people start taking into account what is most important in life. Whether or not you follow the religious aspects of it all, Christmas is a time of reconciliation. And the characters in Bruges have much to think about.
After a mob hit gone wrong, Ray and Ken are told to hide out for several weeks in fucking Bruges to await further instructions. Their boss orders them to go sightseeing as he sees it as a “fucking fairytale” so they can get their minds off the hit until things cool over. Ken, a lovable Brendan Gleeson, adores the sights. The gothic architecture and cobblestone streets have him in disbelief that such a lovely quaint little place could exist. Ray, a massively underappreciated Colin Farrell, isn’t able to warm up to it as much. He just hates it. There’s always that one person who just won’t stop complaining about being on vacation (New drinking game: Take a shot whenever Colin Farrell says “in fucking Bruges”).
His anger stems from… well that would be a spoiler. Just know that the film takes some dark turns. It’s impressive that the movie never strays too far into depressing territory. Absolutely tragic events happen in this film but never nightmarish. In Bruges has a sense of humor about itself, straddling the line between absurdity and dramatic irony “It’s like a fucking fairytale.”
Along with the mysticism of a whimsical dream, In Bruges often works like a stage play. Scenes often take place in small rooms with massive amounts of dialogue being exchanged with only a few characters. There’s an intimacy to these scenes. Whether it’s about the capacity of good and evil, or an extremely un-pc crack at gang violence in Los Angeles, the characters welcome us into their world. It helps that the movie seems to follow the characters with every little thing they do in fucking Bruges.
If being set during the Christmas season wasn’t enough for you, In Bruges has a surplus of religious imagery and connotations. Harry acts as a wrathful god from the Old Testament. There’s often talk of heaven, hell, and purgatory (you don’t need to look far to see what stands for purgatory). To tie it all together, there’s enough Virgin Mary imagery for six seasons and a movie. There’s no bashing your brains in with symbolism, it’s only there to highlight the moral dilemmas of this little story.
In Bruges is a delightful little unorthodox Christmas movie that you all need to watch. I only saw it a year ago and I haven’t been able to contain my love for it. I hope you find as much to enjoy as I have in fucking Bruges.