In Bruges (2008)

In Bruges ends. That saddens me. I was enjoying the ride I was on, and was very disappointed when the film ended. Of course, this is praise in its favor. I was enjoying the black humor, the witty dialogue and the way everyone played everything straight. It was so fun while it was still playing, and when it ended, I was sad.

There’s a certain charm that In Bruges had that I don’t think I can do justice in written text. It’s a film that you have to watch in order to fully understand and appreciate. The mixture between the quirky characters, humorous situations and witty dialogue ended up working far better than I thought it would, and ended up being an incredibly enjoyable experience.

The story revolves around a pair of hitmen. Their employer Henry (Ralph Fiennes) has sent them to Bruges, Belgium. They are to go sight-seeing, and just lay low until he calls them. The first man is named Ray (Colin Farrell), and he has killed a child. He feels guilty about this, and is not “loving life” at the moment. His partner Ken (Brendan Gleeson) is more mature, and is perfectly content to take in the scenery of Bruges. Ray hates it in the city.

At one point in the film, Ken receives a call from their employer. Because of Ray’s “accident,” when the child died, Henry orders Ken to kill Ray. This is when the film gets more interesting, because it takes a darker tone, while still not neglecting the philosophical ideas it brought up earlier.

When Ken and Ray are touring Bruges, the film is still light in nature. There are conversations that take place between the duo that bring up the way they view life and death. The afterlife is brought up, as is the way that they act. Despite the fact that they are hit men, are they really bad people? The people they kill are usually “bad,” so does that justify their killing?

In Bruges is a great comedy.

These types of questions are brought up, particularly in one conversation between the two, and then they keep getting touched upon. They aren’t often directly addressed, but they get brought up enough so that we don’t forget they exist. Then, when touched upon directly, we remember back to earlier, and we see how characters progress, and how these questions are answered.

Character development is something that In Bruges handles wonderfully. Characters begin the film one way, and finish as completely different entities, at least, in some regards. The characters are still the ones we have grown to like, but they’ve progressed for the better or worse, thanks to the events during the film. You get satisfaction at the end, knowing that the journey the characters went on actually had an effect on them.

What you don’t get satisfaction from is the ending itself. Now, I’m not someone who dislikes inconclusive endings just because they don’t give closure, but In Bruges is a film I wanted closure from. Not getting it was sad, and while the ending probably was as fitting as it could be, I still felt disappointed by it. That was likely the intention, or at least, it felt like it, so I can’t knock it for doing that. It was just a little disheartening for the film to finish the way it did.

The thing that is most important about a comedy is whether or not it is funny. In Bruges is funny, at least, it was to me. The humor is European and dark, and may not be appreciated by everyone. It’s more subtle than up-front, and its strengths are in the dialogue between the characters, rather than the situations they find themselves in. There are many jokes made at the expense of other characters, and their features, race, and things like that. The humor is borderline offensive at the best of times, and if you are easily offended, there’s a good chance you might end up disliking the film because of that.

In Bruges is a great comedy. It has interesting characters that progress and develop throughout, it has humor that doesn’t grow old, and it has an interesting and well-told story. All in all, it’s a solid comedy, one that is borderline offensive at times, but stays fresh and interesting as long as it is playing. In Bruges is fun, and doesn’t linger, making it a comedy well worth your time.

Conclusion: In Bruges is wonderful.

Recommendation: If you like dark comedy, In Bruges is a must-see.

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