Sunday, 31 May 2009

The Thin White Dude's Reviews - In Bruges

Also known as the Colin Farrell comeback movie. And just for further reference regarding Bruges, "it's in Belgium." This film in my opinion can be compared to one of my favourite films of recent years, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. One, both are comeback movies for their lead stars, two, both are buddy comedies, three, both are unconventional in narrative and structure etc. I stop there because it could go on for ages. To be honest, I think that I would have preferred the film had I not seen Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. But nonetheless, let us not continue down the path of my completely irrelevant opinions and get on with the review. Two hit men are sent by their boss to remain low key "In Bruges." Ray, Farrell's character despises the place, "it's a shithole," whereas Gleeson's Ken takes in the sights of the city. And, yes, to be honest both characters are stereotypes of the buddy comedy, but the chemistry and interplay between Farrell and Gleeson brings it above this level of your bog-standard buddy comedy. Farrell delivers a phenomenal performance as Ray, able to be humorous, arrogant and ultimately tragic, many times within the single frame, while Gleeson fulfils the role of the older, wise hitman Ken perfectly. The only problem with the acting is Ralph Fiennes portrayal of their boss Harry, who comes across as essentially an excuse the writers and Fiennes to go crazy with a Don Logan-esque character. You could easily redub his lines and make a short film on YouTube with the voice of Ben Kingsley. Also, it is this excuse to go crazy that seems to be the films downfall, failing in its attempt to be original, but forgetting the necessities of audience enjoyment. Yes, granted the script is suitably fitted around Farrell and his performance, giving his character wit and sympathy, but being original is not a mob boss who is essentially a rip-off of Don Logan. Also, the overall plot is very disjointed and all over the place, sometimes making the viewers go "What?" This disjointedness permeates throughout the entire film. For example, the music in the film is very intrusive and in parts ultimately denies us the opportunity to feel the emotions which the film-makers are trying to bring out in us. I guess that this is the fault of the first-time director Martin McDonagh, after his Oscar winning short film Six Shooter. Granted, it is not an atrocious film, but it is his direction and the fact that he seems to have let the fact it is a flawed, disjointed mess of a film fly under his nose that ultimately ruins it. Yes, he can certainly make Bruges look good with some nice cinematography, which even so loses control of itself, but McDonagh needs to learn to be more restrained in his direction and maybe in due time (being a first-time feature director after all) he may well gain the experience necessary to realise this. In Bruges is certainly not a terrible film, boasting a career-best for Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson on top-form, but it is ultimately a disjointed, confused mess of a film, which spends too much time trying to be different, over-the-top and ridiculous, and thus missing out the fundamentals of a good film. Goes to prove that a couple of witty lines can't make a film. For the best way to describe this film, listen to Joy Divsion's "Transmission." For the best example of an original, non-linear, witty buddy comedy, watch Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

The Thin White Dude's Prognosis – 6.5/10

On The Topic Of In Bruges

SPOILER ALERT - Yes, we know Brendan is Irish, but why the Irish folk music at the most inappropriate time why he is about to kill himself?

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