The mood of the beginning of In Bruges perfectly conveys that sense of boredom and pen-tapping that Colin Farrell’s character Ray is feeling upon arriving in “fu**ing Bruges” with fellow hitman buddy Ken (Brendan Gleeson). You almost can’t wait to finish the film in much the same way that Ray can’t wait to get the call from leader Harry (Ralph Fiennes) to give them their job so they can do it and be on their way. The filmmakers did a great job of forcing you to feel that Bruges-related weariness. (Man, Bruge citizens must have been pissed at this movie.)
Anyway, it wasn’t long (okay, maybe twenty minutes in or so) before I realized I was actually thoroughly enjoying the film. While some of the scenes were humorous (like the first “fight scene” in the film, for example), they often weren’t funny enough to make me laugh out loud, save for one or two scenes. I actually found the drama element to be more engaging than the comedic one.
The acting here was pretty spot-on, especially that of the midget - “I mean, dwarf” - Jimmy (Jordan Prentice). He acted his ass off. And going into the film, I had known that Ray carried with him a strong sense of guilt, though I figured the big reveal would prove that the guilt was over something that’s actually pretty hilarious, considering the humor element of the film. However, I learned much sooner than I thought that my expectations couldn’t have been further from the truth.
It’s actually pretty sad and understandable why Ray would feel the way he does, both about the first target he is ordered to kill and the accidental aftermath that follows. I have to agree with Harry on this one - having done what Ray did, I may too have to just put the gun in my mouth and end it all right at that moment. How do you live with yourself after making a mistake like that? Hell, how do you live with yourself after killing that kind of target?
And, of course, despite Ray’s utter hatred for Bruges, a hatred that Harry can’t fathom (or, rather, angrily disputes), he just can’t seem to put the place behind him, something that’s actually pretty laughable later on.
In Bruges is a slow boil, it simmers for a while like an AMC show (I’m looking at you, Mad Men and The Walking Dead) before you realize that you’re in too deep and you’re enjoying yourself for it. Though, unfortunately, as seems to be the coincidental case with many of the films I have recently watched, In Bruges also ends in a choose-your-own-adventure kind of way with its ambiguity.
In choosing how you think the film will end, you’re essentially trying to decide which of two characters you agree with more. Do you agree that someone should be given a second chance to redeem him or herself, despite screwing up pretty royally? Or do you feel that the mistake that was made was one that simply cannot be forgiven?
Ten bucks, though, says the hotel owner’s baby was a boy. It would make sense, given the circumstances.