BOTTOM LINE: It's a movie written and directed by Tony nominated playwright Martin McDonagh and it's brilliant; it's just as good his stage plays. Also, I am excited to say I have a newfound respect for Colin Farrell.
I love Martin McDonagh's work. The Pillowman and The Lieutenant of Inishmore are two of my favorite plays of all time. McDonagh's ability to tell a story and give it substance and humor is unparalleled, especially because he mostly writes about ridiculous characters in inane situations...with lots and lots of violence and name-calling. In Bruges is no exception.
Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) are hit-men who, after a botched job in London, flee to Bruges, Belgium to hide out. They are to wait there until further instructions from their boss back home in England. Bruges is apparently a pretty lame town with a few tourists and little to do. After arriving, Ray says "if I'd have grown up on a farm...and was retarded...Bruges might impress me, but I didn't, so it doesn't." It's an underlying theme as the plot unfolds and both Ray and Ken begin to question what's right and important in their lives. Sounds existential, but it's much funnier and bloodier than all that.
McDonagh's use of violence and bad words is Quentin Tarantino-esque, but with much more comedy infused through the characters. And that's McDonagh's trick; he turns the lowest, least sympathetic characters into people you'd want to invite over for dinner. Colin Farrell is the perfect Ray. He is a completely insensitive hit-man who, through the course of the movie insults midgets, black people, Belgians, retarded people, Americans, and fat people...to their faces. But there's an ownership of these remarks on Ray's part that is kind of charming, and Colin Farrell brings out a twisted naiveté underneath it all. I had previously considered Farrell to be a one-dimension actor with multi-dimensional eyebrows; now, I've come to appreciate him as a talented guy. But I digress. In Bruges is an enjoyable ride that employs witty banter and smart humor in the quintessential McDonagh style. It's a compelling story that's both absurd and endearing.
In Bruges is a wonderful script and is comparable to McDonagh's stage plays, although it's necessary for the set to be the city of Bruges, and therefore works much better on screen than it would have on stage. The cast is perfect and also includes Ralph Fiennes, Zeljko Ivanek and Jordan Prentice.
Check out In Bruges while it's still playing in theatres and enjoy some ridiculously inspired storytelling. And then check out his first film Six Shooter which won him the 2006 Oscar for Best Short Film...it's a must-see for any McDonagh fan.