Here are the things I knew about In Bruges going in:
- it stars Colin Farrell
- it's about contract killers
- it takes place in a quaint medieval European city
Yeah, I know. I know. But it was ridiculously hot, my air conditioner broke, and ... well, the other choice was something with subtitles and the very real possibility of an extended black-and-white shot of a chapeau blowing in the wind.
But you know what? In Bruges was, no shit, the best movie I've seen this entire year. The most amusing, the most surprising, the most laugh-out-loud funny but also not at all funny, the most engaging. Really. I am not attempting to punk you. I swear.
The setup: These two guys, one played by Colin Farrell, the other by Brendan Gleason, find themselves in Bruges. They've been sent there by their boss, either to hide out or maybe do a job, they're not sure, all they know is they're supposed to be in the hotel at night in case he phones. Until he phones, they wait.
In one of the early scenes, Ken (Gleason) drags Ray (Farrell) around the city, giddily pointing out interesting medieval details, reading from a guidebook, etc., while Farrell mopes like a surly teenager. Ken asks if he's coming with him up to the top of the belltower.
"To see what?" Ray says. "What's down here? I can see what's down here from down here."
"You're the worst kind of tourist," Ken says.
"Look, I'm from Dublin," Ray says. "I like Dublin. If I'd grown up on a farm, and was retarded, maybe Bruges might impress me, but I didn't, and it doesn't."
Also: there's a racist American midget, a couple Canadians, a ridiculously entrancing female lead, moments of real poignancy, a couple shootouts, a beautiful setting, and enough genuinely surprising plot twists to keep you guessing, even when you think you know exactly what's coming next.
So, to review: Yes, Colin Farrell is a douche. And has made a lot of bad movies. But this one is good. And you should see it. The End.