Friday, July 25, 2008
Belgium is Cooler Than You Think
Playwright turned writer-director Marin McDonagh as a 2006 Oscar winner for his short Six Shooter, by this, In Bruges (2008 Universal, $29.98, 107 minutes) his first feature, more than demonstrates that he has the stuff to do more than just occasionally delve into filmmaking. The story of two comically mismatched hit men sent to the Belgium city of the title to enjoy the medieval vibes and cool their heels after a bad shoot in London, the film veers directly into Guy Ritchie/Quentin Tarrantino territory, bursting with profanely comic exchanges and peppered with quick doses of the ol’ ultra-violence, all of it bedded down in the thickest layer of deadpan irony. Colin Farrell plays the younger gangster like a feral chipmunk, setting his sights squarely on cold beer and a fetching local drug dealer all the while bemoaning his stay in Bruges as the equivalent to a visit to hell, while Brendan Gleeson is his bear like partner, oozing calm and thoroughly enjoying his touristy twist through the staid little city. Both actors are superb, and quite amusing, although Ralph Fiennes as Big Boss Harry might outdo them, twitching his way across the screen with a burnished internal fury that equals the bullet-headed Ben Kingsley knockout performance in Sexy Beast. Adding to the fun area a couple of coolio minor performances, a cold daddy soundtrack, and one of the most wicked cool cocaine scenes ever put on screen.