In Bruges is a gorgeous, heart-breaking film with amazing comedic performances. If that sounds bizarre, know that the script ties together these differing themes flawlessly, allowing the viewer to understand and even empathize with the main characters all while experiencing Bruges as they do. It's a fun ride.
After a botched contract killing, Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brenden Gleason) are sent to Bruges, Belgium to avoid the aftermath and await further instruction. Ray feels like he's in the absolute worst place on earth and wants to return to London, but Ken is excited about the historical significance of the town and encourages Ray to come along sightseeing with him.
Two very complex characters, Ray and Ken are nothing alike, and yet the same. Both are killers with spotty pasts, but Ray is absolutely livid that he's been ordered to Bruges, while Ken wants to enjoy his "paid vacation."
Following the instructions of their boss, Harry (Ralph Fiennes), each day in Bruges brings them closer to receiving their next assignment, but Ken alone soon learns the identity of this next hit.
This is a dark film, yes, but it is almost entirely a dark comedy. Farrell is absolutely brilliant, especially in his scenes with Gleason, and though they are hitmen, the viewer can't help but like them. Want to help them. Want them to succeed.
Ralph Fiennes is an amazing baddie, but refreshingly, this baddie has a conscience. The fact that Harry doesn't follow the confines of a typical villain just reinforces the fact that this film flows easily without breaking "the rules" of the film noir.
I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this film, especially when, on paper, it should have been a downer. And the casting? Talk about flawless! (Also, if you're a Harry Potter fan, you might be happy to learn that In Bruges stars Mad Eye Moody, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, and Fleur Delacour - a veritable Goblet of Fire reunion!)
I know now why In Bruges was nominated for - and won - so many awards. It's good.