In Bruges (2008) by Martin McDonagh

This black comedy thriller stars Colin Farrel and Brendan Gleeson as hitmen who are sent to Bruges by their boss to lay low. The pair make an odd couple, with Gleeson joyfully taking in the sights and culture of Bruges while Farrel sulks and whines about how boring the town is. This dynamic works fantastically well and both give great performances as their respective characters. It is hard to talk too much about the film without giving away major spoilers. As the two men talk and bicker their way around the town more is revealed about them and their past, in particular the killing that led them to be sent to Bruges. Farrel meets up with an attractive local woman who seems to offer him a way out of the doldrums and soon both men must face the repercussions of their actions. The cinematography in the film is great and Bruges provides a fantastic backdrop to the action. It is amusing to see the location commented on so frequently by characters and it plays an important role in the story.

The film’s off-colour and pitch black humour may not be to everyone’s taste. It delights in offensive language and humour which are in keeping with characters who are supposed to be killers. Drugs, prostitutes and brutal violence all play a part in this bizarre tale. The film is paces exceptionally well. After the initial scenes building up the two characters, there are revelations that completely change the way you look at both of them. It is fair to say that the morality of the film is grey, with almost everyone in it being an anti-hero of some description, if not an outright villains. The themes of guilt and redemption are dealt with in an interesting way and surprisingly not undercut by the tongue-in-cheek manner in which they are expressed. The absurdity of what is happening is often played up but only serves to make the violence and grim realities of the situation more poignant. I would highly recommend this film.