After reading the blog (below) that identified CC’s top 10 movies of the decade, I had to watch (for the third time!) “In Bruges”.
This truly superb thriller is set in the beautifully filmed city of Bruges, Belgium. Set against the background of this “old world” European city known for its lush gardens and architecture, two Irish (Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell) hole up after having been banished from London by their mob “boss” following a “hit” that went tragically wrong. Ray (Farrell) killed a priest in Dublin, but also killed a little boy in the process. This mishap haunts him for the entire film. Ken (Gleeson) and Ray work for a man named Harry (Ralph Finnes) who, for the first two-thirds of the movie, is heard only through phone conversations with Ken. The older, gentler Ken delights in the city…… reading tour guides, visiting tourist attractions and enjoying the beauty of the city. Ray, hot-headed and short-tempered, on the other hand, cannot wait to leave. The dialog between the two is reminiscent of the feisty exchanges in the movie “Pulp Fiction”. In fact all the dialog in this film is smart, funny and vicious. Although Ray finds the city unremarkable, he becomes entranced when he comes across a film being made on one of the streets. There he meets and develops a friendship with two very different and interesting characters; a beautiful blond (Chloe) and a dwarf (Jimmy). At this point, the film cleverly brings all these eccentric characters together at one place and at one time for a thrilling and sensational ending. The movie is engrossing with its plot twists and dark humor. I relished every scene. Colin Farrell is in his best role to date.

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Bruges, Belgium is not a city that has gotten a lot of attention over the years. To be honest, I hardly had ever heard of Bruges before this movie. Now, after seeing this film, not only have I heard of it, but I want to go there. BADLY! The PLOT of the movie is not what made me crave to travel to Bruges. Actually, the plot would be a hindrance. (I’m sure Bruges is not too happy having the image that people rampantly are getting shot throughout their town — that’s not really what a city wants on their tourism brochures.) In the beginning of the film, it’s like a travelogue…the city becomes one of the characters in the film. We go along with the two hit men as they spend the first part of the film sightseeing in Bruges. We wish we were there with them…tasting the beer and smelling the chocolates and sailing on the canals. Then, as the movie takes its turn toward the bloody and violent, we begin to forget about the chocolate and canals and the beer. We focus, rather, on how sorry we feel for all of these flawed, troubled and doomed characters. Sure, they are all bad men. But, in strange ways, all are likeable. Really! Hit men with hearts of gold…I know – mighty corny. But, it’s true. So, what have we learned here? Bruges is a beautiful, picturesque city. And not all hit men are bad people. Two excellent life lessons that I know will help me plenty in years to come. I’ll send you a postcard from Bruges and let you know if I’ve put my life lessons to use yet.
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