In Bruges (Movie Review)

In_Bruges_Poster

Martin McDonagh’s ‘In Bruges’ breaks through the ordinary class of cinematic assassins who wear leather boots, dark-colored leather jackets and hardly ever take off their dark sunglasses unless it is to look at their victims dead in the eyes.

The two protagonists of the film, Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) are as real as it could get; taking off contact lenses at night, getting stuck in the same room at a hotel- and washing off the residue of a murder in a Burger King. But what really gives the final realistic edge to the movie is the “the most well preserved medieval city in the whole of Belgium”, Bruges, the city the film is set in.

In fact, the effect is so profound that it could be said that Ray’s condition is not only accentuated, but in many ways built by the place he is in. The story begins with Ray and Ken walking on a street in Bruges, which is supposed to be a hide-out for them for two weeks, as ordered by their boss Harry (Ralph Fiennes). Ray is almost like a sulky teenager, scoffing at the thought of spending so long in a city as boring as Bruges, while Ken is fascinated by the medieval history and architecture of the place. We soon get to know that the reason behind Ray’s continuous torment and nervousness is his accidental killing of a child on his first assignment for Harry; a man of principles and a sweltering temper, who commands Ken to murder Ray in Bruges.

On the other hand, Ray realizes that the only way he can truly be punished is with death, and decides to commit suicide. Ken stops him from doing so, and Ray eventually finds himself back in his own personal Hell, Bruges.

All these events bring out the ironical humanity of the killers, all of whom hold certain principles and go through the same emotions, such as guilt, paranoia, loneliness, listlessness and pain as any normal person would. The setting of the old medieval town with a long history, however, adds another dimension to the feelings of these people. When the humor surfacing the film, which corresponds to the beauty of the town, is removed, the cold and sad inside of the hearts of the characters are brought out just like the chill of the town.

It is as if Ray is living in two dimensions; he pokes fun of foreigners, waves to midget actors, goes out on dates; he sticks a gun to his head, cries at night, and absolutely refuses to look at the town. This refusal to look around and the excessive boredom he associates with the town even before he enters it facilitates his caging up inside his guilt.

It is almost as if he lives in a state of being dead, or waiting to die, as he thinks he deserves. This darker dimension becomes his reality towards the end, when he is actually about to die, and thinks that he will be stuck in Bruges forever if he dies there. The beauty of the levels the film functions on comes out with the open end, when Ray finds his will to live, only when he faces an even worse possibility of finally going to look around and the excessive boredom he associates with the town even before he enters it facilitates his caging up inside his guilt.

It is almost as if he lives in a state of being dead, or waiting to die, as he thinks he deserves. This darker dimension becomes his reality towards the end, when he is actually about to die, and thinks that he will be stuck in Bruges forever if he dies there. The beauty of the levels the film functions on comes out with the open end, when Ray finds his will to live, only when he faces an even worse possibility of finally going to Hell than remaining in the waiting stage.

– Ishita Pasricha

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