Redeeming Features: "In Bruges"

Welcome to Redeeming Features. The blog where I (poorly) review movies that are underappreciated, underrated or under the radar, in hopes of convincing you to give them a second chance. In BrugesTo kick this week’s review off, why not start with one of the most gripping pieces of dialogue throughout the entire film – the very first line. “After I killed him, I dropped the gun in the Thames, washed the residue off me hands in the bathroom of a Burger King, and walked home to await instructions.”

Wow. Jumping right into it, huh? Not even gonna buy us dinner first? Nope; like a freshly Fireball’d frat guy, we’re just gonna assume you’re go to go, and hit the ground banging. But, like with a gun. Bang like a gun. Not like, with a… ya know… wiener.

*clears throat*

Anyways, all wieners aside – welcome to Bruges. Or In Bruges rather, seeing as it’s the setting and title for this week’s film. And for anyone wondering, it’s pronounced [broo-ge] or [b-ruge] but never [brug-ss]. Also for anyone wondering, it’s on Netflix.

Set in Bruges, In Bruges is a dimly lit dark comedy, starring Colin Farrell and weirdly enough, several people from Harry Potter. We have Brendan Gleeson who played Mad Eye Moody. Ralph Fiennes who vexed us all as Voldemort. And Clémence Poésy as Fleur Delacour; that pretty blonde gal from Beauxbatons Academy who Ron falls for, but then later in the series she ends up marrying his older brother and making little red-headed humans. Sorry, Ron – always a bridesmaid.

Accio Character Summation! Ray (Farrell) plays an ill-tempered hit man who, in light of his recently botched assassination (re: opening dialogue), is ordered to hideaway in a tiny “shithole” – Bruges. Unwillingly accompanied, Ray trudges through the town with Ken (Gleeson), a seasoned vet, well versed in two things: leave-no-trace man hitting and obnoxiously gleeful sightseeing. Ken’s your kinda guy who excitedly frolics from site to sight, citing off nonsensical knowledge, like how they used the wrong insignia for some of the planes featured in the 2001 blockbuster, Pearl Harbor. Read: my old man. The two find themselves cozied up in a single shithole hotel in a shithole town. And as you may have guessed, get along famously.

Ya know, for two people trying to lay low, they’re proper shit at it. From swear-riddled arguments about Jesus’ blood to swear-riddled arguments about a 50-year-old karate trained lollipop man, these opposites only seem to attract attention. And when your whole life surrounds being invisible, you too would bat a lash at anyone who lashes back. Even if it’s in the form of three titanic tourists who want to throw down in fisticuffs, or more favorably, Chloe (Clémence) a beautiful young actress shooting a film about midgets. Excuse me: dwarfs.

To make a short story shorter: it’s lust at first sight. Ray has to have her. Metaphorically, literally, misogynisticly (not a word). And wouldn’t you know it, his little dream comes true! Everything’s coming up aces for ole Ray! And just like that, vacationing in this tiny shithole isn’t a whole buncha shit after all. Unless of course you count the part where Ken’s having a sidebar with their boss (Fiennes) about when, where, how, and why Ray just made the list of targets.

Yeah, remember that first bit of dialogue I keep raving about? I wasn’t kidding; it’s quite telling. And unfortunately, those woefully awaited instructions have our not-so-loveable main character’s name written all over them… IN BLOOD!

*dun dun dunnnnnn*

But why? Perhaps that Burger King bathroom bath was Ray’s final attempt at washing his hands of an otherwise insidious life. Or perhaps his boss is just trying to wash his hands of Ray. I can’t give you the answer, but I can give you a riddle: a hit man, a priest, and a little boy walk into a church – who gets shot in the head?

TL;DR – after a job goes awry, two hit men seek hideaway at a bed-and-breakfast in Bruges, the most boring city in Belgium. And for some reason, can’t keep from stirring up trouble.

Cody Tidmore is a Level Two sketch student at DCH. He’s been watching movies for as long as he can remember. Seeing it all – the good, the bad, even the ugly. And when it comes to annoyingly working movie quotes into regular conversation, he’s the reel deal.