In a perfect world, IN BRUGES would win the Oscar this Sunday for best original screenplay. It’s a slight longshot, so I’m not holding my breath. Still, it’s been days since I watched the film, and thinking back on many bits of dialogue still give me a grin.
IN BRUGES is about two Irish hitmen who, after carrying out a job, are ordered to lay low…in Bruges. Bruges, if you didn’t know, is a quaint town in Belgium. It’s the sort of place with cobblestone roads, swans swimming in the canal, and buildings that look like cuckoo clocks. For the easy going, and culturally thirtsy, it’s charming. Ken, played by Brendan Gleeson, is such a person. But to the restless, and uneasily impressed, it’s a shithole. That’d be Ray, played by Colin Farrell.
Watching Ken and Ray try to make the best of the situation, and try not to kill people – including each other – makes for one amazingly good, and amazingly fresh movie. Many of us have gone on a trip with someone like Ken or Ray, so their abundant enthusiasm/lack thereof is a familiar situation. Now throw in a sexy drug dealer, a movie-star dwarf, one or two handfuls of drugs, and a vicious mob boss. Sounds pretty good huh?
This is writer/director Martin McDonagh’s first feature length film, and given how sharp the dialogue is, I hope we don’t have to wait too very long for the next. (Think Guy Ritchie on his best day in his day). Another thing I hope doesn’t take too very long is for Colin Farrell to do another comedy. Admittedly, I’m a fan of his when he’s playing a cop (which he almost always is). But he has a gift for delivering comedic lines in such a way that makes them charmingly funny.
Case in point, he says the words “In Bruges?” about half a dozen times through the course of 105 minutes. It never stops being funny. That, my friends, is talent.