From the List of Shame File #3: In Bruges

While we have seen many films, there are many films that are held in high regard that we haven’t seen yet. As we cross them off our List of Shame, we’ll write about them here!


Why I missed it: Although it did come out on my birthday in 2008, at its widest US release it was less than 250 theaters, and getting to an arthouse theater from school (without a car) was kind of a production. Also I tend to dislike Colin Farrell.

Why I finally decided to watch it: We were in Bruges last month!

Review: In Bruges is a tight little comedy-thriller about two hitmen, Ray (Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson), who are sent to hide out in Bruges, Belgium, by their boss Harry (Ralph Fiennes). For those that may be unaware, Bruges one of the best preserved medieval towns in all of Europe, with many buildings that are hundreds of years old (or more) still in use today. It is also a popular vacation destination for Brits. The film starts with Ray and Harry’s arrival in Bruges, and all the scenes but one take place within the medieval city.

The entire first act of the film is more or less Ray and Ken sightseeing Bruges, and their easy camaraderie is so captivating that it’s easy to forget why they are here, which makes the phone call that starts act two very jarring (in a good way). Overall, the film has very few plot twists that usually enhance my enjoyment of similar films (Lucky Number Slevin comes to mind), but the dialogue is so good, and the characters round enough to completely make up for it. A very watchable film, in addition to the main plot, Ray has encounters with a film shooting in Bruges, a skinhead, and a dwarf. I would describe the tone of this as Tarantino-esque, though the dialogue is not as masterful as Quentin’s. I also very much enjoyed the small scale of this film, only 6 or 7 characters have names, and it makes everything that happens between them very personal.

Also, I love watching movies that make use of a particular backdrop, especially when it’s one I am familiar with, like Philadelphia in National Treasure, or New York in the Ghostbusters films. In Bruges is no exception, and it was really cool to see places I had just been (and have my own pictures of) featured so prominently in the film.

Worth it? Absolutely, and that goes for both watching In Bruges and visiting in Bruges!

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One thought on “From the List of Shame File #3: In Bruges

  1. A film I should revisit if only for the locale. I wouldn’t mind revisiting Bruges, either. njs

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