Like my book reviews site, these are movie reviews I write for entertainment purposes only. These are just my reviews and my opinions. They are not endorsed by Blogger or any movie studios or anyone else. So there. I borrowed my scoring system from the Metacritic site, which does not imply an endorsement from them, although I think they do have a very nice website. I convert the 1-100 scores into 1-4 stars, essentially it works like this:

1 star = 25 points
2 stars = 50 points
3 stars = 75 points
4 stars = 100 points

And then if something falls about halfway between, then I'll give it an added half-star.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

In Bruges

Like "The Ice Harvest" that I watched previously, this is another film taking place during the holidays that is not a holiday film.  Instead it's a dark comedy/crime caper about two hitmen who flee to the medieval Belgian town of Bruges after a botched hit.

That hit took place in London, where new recruit Ray (Colin Farrell) was to have whacked a priest, but in the process he kills those most innocent of bystanders--a child.  To escape the heat, Ray and his veteran partner Ken (Brendan Gleeson) are dispatched by their boss to Bruges.

For a hard-living city dweller like Ray, being in Bruges is like being in Hell.  He's as petulant and antsy as a small child as Ken leads him around the town to see the sights, including a church that is reputed to have some of Jesus' blood.  Meanwhile the proverbial sword of Damocles is hanging over their heads as they wait to hear from their boss, Harry (Ralph Fiennes) about what to do next.

Things get better for Ray when he sees the beautiful Chloe on the set of a movie featuring a dwarf.  Soon Ray and Chloe are becoming an item, but Ray still has trouble reconciling what happened back in London.

When word finally does come from Harry it puts both Ray and Ken in jeopardy.

I first saw this movie over a year ago in the Phoenix Hyatt, but I enjoyed it a lot more this time around.  This is what "The Ice Harvest" aspired to be but couldn't pull off--a crime movie that also manages to be hilarious.  Because while the characters are hitmen, they aren't generic thugs or toughs.  Instead, they're borderline neurotic, especially Ray as he grapples with his demons.  In large part it reminds me of "Grosse Point Blank" (which like "The Ice Harvest" starred John Cusack) especially where Ray deadpans to Chloe that he kills priests and children and later during the big shootout scene.  Only in this case there's not nearly so much of the romantic comedy element.

This certainly isn't a movie you want to watch with the kids with blood, violence, dwarf jokes, and drug use but it's good adult fare.  Really if you're sick of "It's a Wonderful Life" or "A Christmas Story" then go out and rent this.

BTW, after watching this I almost feel sorry for Bruges at being the butt of so many jokes in this film.  It does certainly look like a neat place, though I think I'd only want to visit for a couple of days before moving on.  Two weeks there might be Hell to me too.

That is all.

My score:  85/100 (3.5 stars)

Metacritic score:  67 (2.5 stars)

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