In Bruges (2008)
July 27, 2015 4:48 PM - Subscribe

Guilt-stricken after a job gone wrong, hitman Ray and his partner await orders from their ruthless boss in Bruges, Belgium, the last place in the world Ray wants to be.

Jordan Prentice plays 'Jimmy', a role often mis-remembered as being played by Peter Dinklage.

In his 2008 film review, Roger Ebert closes:
Without dreaming of telling you what happens next, I will say it is not only ingenious but almost inevitable the way the screenplay brings all of these destinies together at one place and time. Along the way, there are times of great sadness and poignancy, times of abandon, times of goofiness, and that kind of humor that is really funny because it grows out of character and close observation. [Colin] Farrell in particular hasn't been this good in a few films, perhaps because this time he's allowed to relax and be Irish. As for [Brendan] Gleeson, if you remember him in "The General," you know that nobody can play a more sympathetic bad guy.

Martin McDonagh is greatly respected in Ireland and England for his plays; his first film, a short named "Six Shoooter" starring Gleeson, won a 2006 Oscar. In his feature debut, "In Bruges," he has made a remarkable first film, as impressive in its own way as "House of Games," the first film by David Mamet, who McDonagh is sometimes compared with.

Yes, it's a "thriller," but one where the ending seems determined by character and upbringing rather than plot requirements. Two of the final deaths are, in fact, ethical choices. And the irony inspiring the second one has an undeniable logic, showing that even professional murderers have their feelings.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (26 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
"Purgatory's kind of like the in-betweeny one. You weren't really shit, but you weren't all that great either. Like Tottenham."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:38 PM on July 27, 2015 [6 favorites]

I've always found this movie interesting in the way it portrays Bruges. Most of the characters are constantly running Bruges down, but the film itself manages to make it look much more interesting than it actually is. I love Bruges for all the old architecture and art and such, but there really isn't a lot else happening that isn't super touristy. I find Gent to be just as pretty, but with much more going on (that doesn't involve racist dwarves).
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:43 PM on July 27, 2015

I very much liked the movie, but I saw it at the end of an exhausting week and I think I might have fallen asleep for a while and don't really remember much of the second half. This is a good reminder to rewatch it soon.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:09 PM on July 27, 2015

I generally hate thrillers and find them tedious or really bad for my stress levels. "In Bruges" is one of the very few thrillers I legitimately like and recommend to others. A huge part of its appeal is the city itself, which is presented as beautiful, dirty, ornate, functional and kind of unstoppable in turns. Having never been there myself I'm not burdened with its reality so the city gets to play its role as a leading character without baggage. I can imagine that if I were already familiar with the real place, I wouldn't like the movie nearly as much.
posted by Mizu at 7:28 PM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

"In fucking Bruges?!?"
posted by dry white toast at 8:48 PM on July 27, 2015 [3 favorites]

I saw this and really enjoyed it. About a week later I was at my SO's folks and my very proper FiL was flicking through the channels and this came up. I said it was worth watching so he flicked back, just in time for Colin Farrell to say something was a"fucken cunt'. I made my excuses and went to see if there were any dishes still needing washing.
posted by biffa at 1:08 AM on July 28, 2015 [5 favorites]

I love this movie so much. It's so funny and so bleak.
It's also fun because nearly everyone in the movie was also in Harry Potter, but this time they do a lot of drugs and say cunt a bunch.
posted by phunniemee at 6:19 AM on July 28, 2015 [6 favorites]

Ken: Harry, let's face it. And I'm not being funny. I mean no disrespect, but you're a cunt. You're a cunt now, and you've always been a cunt. And the only thing that's going to change is that you're going to be an even bigger cunt. Maybe have some more cunt kids.
Harry: [furious] Leave my kids fucking out of it! What have they done? You fucking retract that bit about my cunt fucking kids!
Ken: I retract that bit about your cunt fucking kids.
Harry: Insult my fucking kids? That's going overboard, mate!
Ken: I retracted it, didn't I?

I had to stop the movie a bit and get a glass of water because I couldn't stop laughing. That and the skinhead vs blank bullet fight.
posted by lmfsilva at 6:33 AM on July 28, 2015 [5 favorites]

Note the totally fucking insane deleted flashback that helps explain the depth of the relationship between Ken and Harry. Starring none other than former Doctor Who Matt Smith as young Harry.
posted by Naberius at 7:03 AM on July 28, 2015 [3 favorites]

I've been meaning to watch this forever. It sound like it has some similarities to Harold Pinter's The Dumbwaiter.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 6:36 PM on July 28, 2015

I watched this again today. I think that makes 3 times now I've watched it in the past year? It's that good. I don't think I've ever seen another movie quite like it. It's a shoot-em-up gangster movie with really slow, almost directionless, dream-like pacing. The only thing that falls flat for me are the "Americans" who are clearly just overweight British actors with a wikipedia entry level knowledge of American tourists.

Still, though. Great movie. People who haven't seen it should go watch it right now.
posted by phunniemee at 7:04 PM on July 28, 2015

YOU'RE an inanimate fucking object is just one of my all time favorite lines in a movie that fits a very specific context that will make me laugh every time I think about it.
posted by numaner at 3:29 PM on July 29, 2015 [3 favorites]

Later he cools down and apologizes: "I'm sorry I said you were an inanimate fucking object..."
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 3:33 PM on July 29, 2015

My dad and I watched this last week. He was totally unimpressed at the beginning and kept saying these characters are not realistic (he's not at all modern in film taste), but by the end he was truly captivated by the film's photography, music, its crazy internal logic, and, yes, the fact that most of the actors had been in Harry Potter.
posted by ipsative at 4:04 PM on July 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

Whole cast is impressive but for me the standout was Brendan Gleeson - made me want to see what other movies he'd done.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 4:13 PM on July 29, 2015

One of my all time favorites. I posted an AskMe question about similar light in tone, dark in subject matter, dialogue-heavy movie several years ago and got some great suggestions.
posted by rtimmel at 9:16 AM on July 30, 2015 [2 favorites]

I just recently rewatched this film. It is so so good. Colin Farrell's comedic timing is just perfect and it makes me realize that, other than this, I have only seen him in very serious roles. Are there other movies where he gets to be funny?

And Mizu: I've been to Bruges and it only added to my enjoyment of the film. It really is a lot smaller than they make it seem though.
posted by 256 at 4:58 PM on July 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Colin Farrell's comedic timing is just perfect and it makes me realize that, other than this, I have only seen him in very serious roles. Are there other movies where he gets to be funny?

maybe in Fright Night? I recall it is something of a slasher comedy, and that he was ok in it.
posted by lmfsilva at 5:38 PM on July 30, 2015

Colin Farrell was also in Seven Psychopaths, which happens to be Martin McDonagh's follow-up to In Bruges.

I loved this movie, and it lead me to discovering a whole world of awesome stuff:
Martin McDonagh wrote and directed In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths [both great].
His brother, John Michael McDonagh, wrote and directed The Guard and Calvary [both great]

Brendan Gleeson starred in In Bruges, The Guard, and Calvary [great in all]. Which made me go down the rabbit hole of his filmography: If you haven't already then give The Grand Seduction a look, it's nice and light, and heartwarming. He also voice-acted in two excellent animated movies: The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea. My decision to watch anything Brendan Gleeson is in was the only reason I went to see Edge of Tomorrow, and I'm really glad I did!

I was amused to see the new season of True Detective starring Collin Farrell [starred alongside Gleeson in In Bruges], Kelly Reilly [starred alongside Gleeson in Calvary], and Taylor Kitsch [starred alongside Gleeson in The Grand Seduction]. The only logical conclusion is Tom Cruise [starred alongside Gleeson in Edge of Tomorrow] is the masked killer. I can't wait to be right.

So yeah, I liked In Bruges. I make everyone watch it. Then I take them down the rabbit hole of McDonagh brother movies, which leads to Brendan Gleeson movies, and Sam Rockwell movies [he's just awesome, in everything. And Seven Psychopaths].
posted by xqwzts at 6:31 AM on July 31, 2015 [3 favorites]

One of favourite films... probably one of the best films since the millennium. Utterly hilarious and endlessly quotable.

Not much to add to what's been said before, but if you've not seen it do check out Six Shooter, that won the Oscar for best short film - it's on youtube.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:24 AM on August 1, 2015

I love this movie. There aren't many well-done movies with this weird mix of heavy but silly. The funny bits are genuinely funny, and the heavy bits are really thoughtful and sad. And it's beautiful to look at too.
posted by biscotti at 5:53 AM on August 2, 2015

thanks xqwzts! I'm gonna add those to my Netflix list and DVD queue!
posted by numaner at 8:10 AM on August 2, 2015

Brendan Gleeson was also in 28 Days Later, which is one of my favorite movies and really IMHO one of the best zombie movies of the modern era.
posted by LizBoBiz at 9:53 AM on March 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

This is on Peacock right now. I'm rewatching it as part of a Christmas 2020 Double Feature with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. I forgot how much I enjoyed it.
posted by ChuraChura at 2:46 PM on December 23, 2020

This is one of my favorite Christmas movies, but there is one line ("tip in the favor of culture") that goes waaaaaaaay too deep into the vein of "antihero says inappropriate thing." I wish I could edit it out of the movie by force of will, and I can never recommend it without a caveat.
posted by praemunire at 2:58 PM on December 23, 2020

This got a 4K release in the fall. I just rewatched it while setting up the tree, and it looks really good. The numerous night scenes benefit a lot from the HDR.
posted by praemunire at 7:56 AM on December 19, 2022 [1 favorite]

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