Film: In Bruges
Director: Martin Mcdonagh
Starring: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes
Runtime: 107 mins
Rating: * *
Pitched as a violent gangster comedy, In Bruges is entertaining fare, like a Dan Brown novel or a lolly. It’s reminiscent of those buddy crime romps of the 90s, those Pulp Fictions and Goodfellas that are long gone, though unchanged is the classic strain of “sense danger, twat the danger, repeat”. The British, though, run a nicely idiosyncratic factory of 21st centry gangster, catering for both the film literate with Sexy Beast and those who laugh at Danny Dyer’s informed performance stylistics.
In Bruges falls between the two quality-wise. It’s definitely got its ‘I’m British’ badge on though: there’s some witty dialogue, unusually remorseful criminals and a racist midget byline. Even the Belgian girl is a little British because she was in Harry Potter. The mix of the inherently British, the comic and the gory never really comes off, however.
The main relationship between Farrell and Gleeson isn’t really believable, and the scenes in which Farrell gets to do some proper acting, after a prolonged engagement in Hollywood shouting and snarling, feel shovelled in when scripted in the midst of blinding a robber and some really badly written antics from Ralph Fiennes’ character.
Problematic too is the boring use of stereotyped jokes about fat Americans, fat black children, dwarves, Dutch hookers, and the central plot device of a violent Irishman killing a priest.
When the concept of a film within a film is used, it facilitates one of the most hilarious plot contrivances outside the blockbuster season. A dwarf is dressed as a schoolboy (the lynchpin had previously vowed to kill himself if he killed a child). The lynchpin blows off the dwarf’s head with specially obtained ‘murk the bastard’ bullets, thus making his bloody remnants indistinguishable from those of a child. Like the sound of that? Then see In Bruges.