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Saturday, February 23, 2008

In Bruges (***)


"They're filming midgets!"
In Bruges is hands down the best movie I've ever paid $14 to see. $14 is what it costs to see a movie in Los Angeles at the Arclight on a Sunday night. I could hardly sit down from the ramming my ass got. Still, In Bruges was a much better movie than I expected. I expected one of those jump-cutting, incoherent Guy Richie shoot-em-ups I normally can't stand. Instead, In Bruges turned out to be an engaging tragic comedy, or comedic tragedy, depending on how you look at it, about two Irish hitmen forced to hide out in Bruges, Belgium, after a job on awry. While Colin Farrell spends the entire movie shitting all over Bruges, the movie shoots the fairy tale city of Bruges so beautifully, they should practically have travel agents meeting the audience at the door when the credits roll. In Bruges is also unexpectedly a Harry Potter supporting cast reunion with Brendan Gleeson (Mad Eye Moody), Clemence Poesey (Fleur Delaceur), and Ralph Fiennes (Voldemort) all present, all doing excellent work outside the confines of Hogwarts. Fiennes in particular has a ball doing his best impression of Ben Kingsley in Sexy Beast. He hasn't played anyone this barking mad evil since he shot Jews from his balcony in Schindler's List. Meanwhile, one of my favorite character actors Ciaran Hinds shows up and didn't surprise me in the least by dying violently. In the last few years he's been bloodily killed in Rome, Munich, and now In Bruges. I'm still wondering how he managed to not bite it in Miami Vice. Speaking of Miami Vice, Colin Farrell usually chafes against the heroic types of characters he plays in American films, but In Bruges allows him to play closer to himself: a boyish, cocky, Irish rogue, with surprisingly deep emotions when he isn't drunk on beer and cursing up a storm. Farrell was better than he's been in forever here. In Bruges has pretty much everything: a lovely European setting, dark humor, heaps of blood and violence, sexy European girls, and midgets. Drunk midgets, midgets high on drugs, midgets getting punched in the face. Actually, it was all just the one midget.