Movie Dictator Club: In Bruges (2008)


My entry in the Movie Dictator Club for the month of January, 2009!

Written By: Martin McDonagh
Directed By: Martin McDonagh

I post over at a quaint little message board called Filmspotting, and they have a monthly movie dictator club. In this club another user dictates a movie to you that you must watch and then you do the same for another user. It’s quite the message board, and the dictator club is a great idea. My dear, close, personal friend Clovis, or Cee-Lo as I like to call him (well, I don’t, but now I do) dictated that I watch In Bruges. Later I told him how much I love dark comedies like Very Bad Things and he informed me that In Bruges would be right up my alley. He was right, because I loved In Bruges. When it is funny, it is funny, and when it is dramatic, it is dramatic. I recently reviewed Twentieth Century, and one of the reasons I loved that film was because of how different it is from the modern cinematic comedy. In Bruges is also very different, albeit in different ways than Twentieth Century was. In Bruges is a comedy mixed with heavy drama, and it blends these two elements together in fine fashion.

The first thing that immediately envelops your visual senses with In Bruges is the town of Bruges itself. It is breathtakingly beautiful and is shot so that it looks as beautiful as possible. Every nook and cranny, or alcove depending on how Russian you are, looks and feels grandiose in the day time and near whimsical at night. Harry calls Bruges a fantasy, and it is very much like a fantasy from a land long gone from the world.

The comedy in In Bruges is both broad and concise, but it is consistently funny. The one fault I would give to In Bruges is that it does drag a bit much in the beginning, but even during those parts it is funny. Once the drama gets involved In Bruges really hits its stride. The suspense builds to an inevitable climax where the comedy, drama, and ethical issues all meet for the only ending that would do the film justice.

I know that Colin Farrell gets a lot of flack for his supposed deficiencies in the acting department, but after watching him in In Bruges I don’t see how he gets that much flack. Yes, he is surrounded by great performances from Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes, and Jordan Prentice, but Mr. Farrell stands out amongst them all. He is a killer and he has done something terrible, yet you feel for him, and he is hilarious when engaging in one of his many asshole moments. If you still harbor doubts about Mr. Farrell’s abilities as an actor, then check out In Bruges, it should change your mind.

I would recommend In Bruges, it is a tremendous dark comedy and a nice change of pace from the current Judd Apatow inspired comedies. Luckily Cee-Lo, yes, I will be calling you that for the foreseeable future, recommended this to me because otherwise I wouldn’t have gotten around to it for some time. I enjoyed In Bruges immensely, give it a chance and you will too.



Bill Thompson

6 responses to “Movie Dictator Club: In Bruges (2008)

  1. Hey Bill,
    Followed you over from Simply Syndicated. Thanks for the review, I was debating on watching this after hearing the MYSS crew talk about it in their year in review, now that you’ve mentioned it’s along the Very Bad Things (one of my favorites) line, I’m definitely going to check it out. Thanks for not giving away too much in your review.

  2. Bill Thompson

    Cool, glad to be helpful, and glad to have you along for the ride. The person who recommended In Bruges to me did so because he knew I was such a fan of Very Bad Things. If you liked that movie at all then you should definitely like In Bruges, if you don’t I would be very surprised. I try not to give away too much in my reviews, but I don’t worry about spoilers too much, so hopefully I never spoil a movie for you.

  3. Agreed that the movie shines once the drama sets in. I didn’t think the more comedic moments near the beginning went for too long however. I thought they set up the characters nicely enough. Nonetheless, we’re pretty much on the same page about the film.

    I need to find a review of yours I vehemently disagree with now. Then the party will get started.

  4. Bill Thompson

    Search my friend, I’m sure you’ll eventually find one.

  5. Great movie, totally love this one enough to put it on my all-time favourite list. Definitely needs an eye for the darker material. Probably teaching my granny to suck eggs but Todd Solondz movies are also fantastic and dark!

  6. Todd Solondz is a filmmaker I have yet to check out, but I plan to someday.

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