In Bruges is the tale of two Irish hit men named Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) who have been sent to lie low in the Belgian city of Bruges.
There they have arguments with one another and upset all manner of people from the locals, US tourists and even the crime boss (Ralph Fiennes) who sent them there.
Written and directed by the playwright Martin McDonagh, who won an Oscar in 2006 for his short film Six Shooter, this is one of the most impressive debut features in recent memory.
Not only does it contain several memorable sequences, but it contains the sort of ballsy, politically incorrect humour absent from a lot of mainstream comedy movies.
It also features some excellent performances, most notably from the two leads. Gleeson is his usual dependable self whilst Farrell shows what a good actor he can be when released from the constraints of big budget Hollywood productions.
Ralph Fiennes also makes a startling impression in a menacing supporting role that owes more to his turn in Schindler’s List than some of his more recent performances.
If you are familiar with the sensibility of McDonagh’s plays, such as The Lieutenant of Inishmore, you will find much to feast on here – it feels like Harold Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter remade by Quentin Tarantino.
It opened the Sundance Film Festival back in January and got a wider US release in February, with a UK opening following in April.
Although it had a relatively low budget, it still didn’t really get the attention it deserved, which may have been down to bad marketing (the US one sheet poster was horrible, with the UK one not much better) or maybe the title confused people.
But the DVD is an essential purchase as this is easily one of the best films to come put this year – smart, funny and superbly made.
The extras include:
- Deleted and extended scenes: There is a generous amount of unused footage (11 deleted and 2 extended scenes), some of which are very funny, the highlight being the scene with Ralph Fiennes’ character on the train.
- Gag reel: Perhaps less impressive is this gag reel which consists of the actors cracking up on set.
- When in Bruges: A solid 13 minute making-of featurette featuring interviews with director Martin McDonagh and the main cast, exploring the ideas behind the film and the experience of making it.
- Strange Bruges: This is a 7 minute feature the cast and director discussing the Belgian town where the film was set and made.
- A Boat Trip Around Bruges: A 5 minute film about the history of Bruges filled with some nuggets of information and trivia.
- F**king Bruges: A short feature in which the most prominent word in the script is repeated over and over again.
Watch the trailer here:
In Bruges is out now on DVD from Universal
> Buy the DVD from Amazon UK
> Listen to our review on our podcast back in April
> In Bruges at the IMDb
> Read other reviews of the film at Metacritic
> Find out more about Martin McDonagh at Wikipedia
> The Guardian profile Martin McDonagh
> The Times interview Colin Farrell and Martin McDonagh about the film