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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

In Bruges (DVD, 2008, ***)

inbruges poesy colin 2.jpgAWARD-WINNING PLAYWRIGHT MARTIN MCDONAGH, an Oscar-winner for his short, Six Shooter, makes an amusing feature writing-directing début with In Bruges, which finds Irish hitmen Ken (Brendan Gleeson) and Ray (Colin Farrell) dispatched to historical Belgium—”Where the fook is Broozh?”—to cool their heels after a contract killing gone wrong. It’s the sort of cracked genre enterprise that’s always welcome, and with his characteristic verbal baroque, Sundance 2008’s opening night film is stylish after a modest fashion, with attractive lighting by cinematographer Eigil Bryld (The King, Wisconsin Death Trip, Becoming Jane). (The transfer to DVD has its own brassy charm.) McDonagh shines with actors, letting Gleeson and Farrell hold onto their own accents, and bringing out a sweetly damaged comic performance from Farrell, something like the hood he played in Intermission with just the right touch of Jerry Lewis’ inner pain. But his knack is words, dirty ones at that. He’s got a playwright’s love of the rhythmic potential of repetition and reiteration, particularly with a patois way past profane. Happening upon a film shoot, Ray exults, “They’re filming something, they’re filming midgets! My arse, let’s go, they’re filming midgets!” Later, meeting an actress from the film, Chloë (Clémence Poésy, of Harry Potter and The Goblet Of Fire, playing girl-of-dreams as a serene tangle of genial twinkles), he’s given to gush, “I hope your midget doesn’t off himself, your dream sequence would be fucked.” (Farrell has a fine line in melting when late in the game she asks him, “Am I the most beautiful woman you’ve ever seen in your stupid life?”) The film’s secret is that it’s a profane comedy about despair, which comes clear long before the third act appearance of Ralph Fiennes as their boss Harry, playing a role reminiscent of Ben Kingsley’s Don Logan in Sexy Beast with a pinch of Michael Caine. Oh, the look in his cold eyes when he demands across a table at an outdoor café, “You retract that about my cunt fucking kids!” (A deleted scene tops that with Harry’s rebuff to a pestery fellow passenger on a train, “If I wanted a conversation with a cunt, I’d have gone to the Have a Conversation with a Cunt Shop.”) Such a confabulation ought to climax in a literal side-street Boschian revel, which In Bruges does. Next time, perhaps McDonagh can toss aside the schematic screenwriting manuals and fuckin’ bloom. Carter Burwell’s emphatic score, on first listen, suggested unease about the film’s marketability, but it grows on you. Below: The UK trailer; US trailer; and a scene with Gleeson’s first encounter with the wee lad. [Ray Pride.]



UK trailer.


US trailer.


Gleeson in the bar.

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