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In Bruges

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Click to open the IMDB page.

Click to open the IMDB page.

Don’t let the publicity or the posters fool you. In Bruges is not a caper, or an action film, or necessarily a film for Bourne enthusiasts. Sure, it has assassins and there are murders. But consider: it has midgets, specifically, a midget who, when high, talks of the impeding war between all whites and blacks. Midgets included. It has a mangy asshole making fun of Americans. Not just any Americans: fat Americans. It takes one of the biggest digs at Canadians since the South Park movie. And it gets away with it. Fabulously.

All the good reviews of the movie have already praised the dialog sky high, but it really is something else. Constantly surprising, utterly unreal, and entirely too scripted, but as hilarious as anything Russell Peters ever did. These people don’t speak like you and I, and thank Christ for that.

The premise is simple: two assassins, after a bad hit, get sent to Bruges to lay low for a while. Which, of course, as they figure out, isn’t quite true. They’re sent here for a hit; all they have to do is wait for their boss to call them and deliver further instructions. The things that happen afterwards are quite predictable, but don’t hold that against it. Because what happens happens with such obvious style that it doesn’t matter.

Colin Farrell fits the bill as a smarmy asshole with an opinion on everything that isn’t him (ie, it’s bad). I’ve never been a fan of the guy, but it’s hard to go wrong with a line like, “Ken, I grew up in Dublin. I love Dublin. If I grew up on a farm, and was retarded, Bruges might impress me but I didn’t, so it doesn’t.”

Or, “I don’t hit women. I would never hit a woman, Chloe. I’d hit a woman who was trying to hit me with a bottle. That’s different. That’s self-defense, isn’t it? Or a woman who could do karate. I would never hit a woman generally, Chloe.”

Or, my favorite, “A great day this has turned out to be. I’m suicidal, me mate tries to kill me, me gun gets nicked and we’re still in fuckin’ Bruges!” The lead up to this line is pitch perfect.

The whole sordid mess is filled with lines like these; even the parts where you expect at best cliche chatter.

Watch it once for the dialog alone.

Then there’s Bruges. Nearly every time Ray (Farrell) badmouths the city, it’s punctuated with a gorgeous vista of the city right after. And, in yet another dig at the wealthy white, they make it exceedingly clear why the city remains beautiful: because it’s in, as they say, fucking Belgium.

And the ending? In the snow and the costumed freaks? The midget’s trot? Ralph Fiennes’s expression before he pulls the trigger? Flawless.

Don’t pass this up as another thriller like I almost did. It’s not. It’s refreshing proof that cinema makers, given the chance, can still do it. Even in fuckin’ Bruges.

Written by Jesus Eastwood

June 4, 2009 at 12:12 pm