Friday, May 29, 2009

In Bruges

by Pa Rock
Film Critic

I caught this much ballyhooed independent film on cable last night and was quickly captivated. In Bruges is the story of two hit men on the lam due to a very botched crime, and the numerous intersecting lives and stories that wash through their exile. It is apparent from early on that this story will end tragically, yet there are many laughs en route to the bloody ending.

The hit men of In Bruges are Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson). They are in the employ of the mysterious Harry (Ralph Fiennes). As the story begins, Ray is in a church confessional telling the priest that he murdered someone for money. "You murdered a man for money?" the priest asks. "Who, Ray?" The reply: "You, Father." Ray begins shooting the priest through the confessional wall, but the stout Catholic cleric doesn't die easily. He gets up and walks away. Ray comes up behind him shooting some more, eventually bringing the priest down. When the priest falls and dies, a young boy is revealed lying in a pool of blood on the floor. He has also been killed by Ray.

That was Ray's first hit, and it went badly awry. Harry sends Ray and Ken, the experienced hit man, to the medieval city of Bruges, Belgium, to hide out. From there is gets funny, and complicated, and more deadly.

Fifteen or twenty minutes into this film I began to have a sense of deja vu. In Bruges has a very similar feel to the 1996 classic, 2 Days in the Valley, which was also a tale about a botched murder with several intersecting lives swirling through the resultant mayhem. Both were delightful on one level and absorbing on another.

I recommend In Bruges highly. And if it leaves you wanting more, rent a copy of 2 Days in the Valley. It will be an evening well spent!

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