In Bruges is like Snatch with a conscience. It’s got the funny and the gunplay, but it’s also got a heart that gives it an extra push of relevance and depth.
First with the funny. As a rule, I do not laugh out loud when watching things by myself. I’m a social laugher, who will be howling the loudest and longest in a theatre setting, generally to the embarrassment of my peers, but I just feel awkward laughing alone. In Bruges took that rule and mopped the floor with it. As soon as Colin Farrell and the three portly American tourists got into it, I was sold. If you’ve seen the movie, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t seen this movie within two days of reading this review, I haven’t gotten my point across. It’s just a really really really fookin’ funny felm.
Then we get to the guns. There is certainly violence in In Bruges, but it always serves a purpose… well nearly always… when you karate chop a dwarf, that’s really just for a laugh. Otherwise, there’s always a narrative purpose or reason for the violence. The grittier the harm, the more emotionally impactful the scene. It’s gorey enough to turn off more timid viewers, but the graphic depictions of violence generally exist to show the real circumstances and consequences of living a violent life. This isn’t gore-for-gore’s sake, there’s tragedy and humanity behind every drop of blood spilled.
Speaking of tragedy, there is something seriously wrong with the concept of marketing. Just look at this poster.
You’ve got Ralph Fiennes at the top, getting what appears to be top billing. While you don’t see Fiennes face until literally half-way through the movie, he’s right there, BAM, star of In Bruges. Then, you’ve got Colin Farrell, with a beer in one hand, and a gun in the other, putting him in a comedic sidekick kind of role. Then, at the bottom, with obscured face, is some guy. Who is that? I dunno, let’s look it up. Huh, “Brendan Gleeson,” eh? Let’s pull up the ol’ Imdb. Oh hey! He played that guy with the crazy eye in the Harry Potter where Harry had terrible hair! Okay, yeah I’ve seen him in a movie before. Let’s ignore that Gleeson carries way more than a third of the film on his shoulders, he’s just some guy holding a gun. Feck.
In case I haven’t made myself clear, you should see In Bruges.