CRIME COMEDY; 1hr 47min
STARRING: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes
Belgian blues: from left, Gleeson and Farrell
When you’re a hit man and the moral scales are tipped against you, equilibrium is a state you’re unlikely to routinely enjoy. Ray (Farrell) and Ken (Gleeson) are guns for hire, holed up in a cosy hotel in Bruges (“brooj”) just before Christmas after an assignment gets complicated. Ray is a mess, a tangle of nerve ends spoiling for trouble. Ken, being more laid-back, is up for some Belgian culture.
The paradox of two killers in a historical paradise laced with canals and grandiose architecture seems laid out for laughs. But behind its nimble verbal footwork, In Bruges, written and directed by acclaimed English playwright Martin McDonagh, is made of sterner stuff. The more we learn of the men — Ray tortured by guilt, Ken careworn and regretful — the more their story comes alive in its ambiguity. By the time Fiennes shows up as their nasty, needle-nosed boss, we, the audience, are firmly in their corner; as imprisoning and precarious as it was always bound to be.