U.S./U.K., 2008, 107 min, DCP, Dir. Martin McDonagh, Rated R, Focus Features
“This film debut by Martin McDonagh is an endlessly surprising, very dark, human comedy, with a plot that cannot be foreseen but only relished.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"It is easily one of the best debut feature films in recent memory." – Claudia Puig, USA Today
Bruges, the most well-preserved medieval city in the whole of Belgium, is a welcoming destination for travelers from all over the world. But for hit men Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson), it could be their final destination; a difficult job has resulted in the pair being ordered right before Christmas by their London boss Harry (two-time Academy Award nominee Ralph Fiennes) to go and cool their heels in the storybook Flemish city for a couple of weeks.
Very much out of place amidst the gothic architecture, canals, and cobbled streets, the two hitmen fill their days living the lives of tourists. Ray, still haunted by the bloodshed in London, hates the place, while Ken, even as he keeps a fatherly eye on Ray's often profanely funny exploits, finds his mind and soul being expanded by the beauty and serenity of the city.
But the longer they stay waiting for Harry's call, the more surreal their experience becomes, as they find themselves in weird encounters with locals, tourists, violent medieval art, a dwarf American actor (Jordan Prentice) shooting a European art film, Dutch prostitutes, and a potential romance for Ray in the form of Chloë (Clémence Poésy), who may have some dark secrets of her own.
And when the call from Harry does finally come, Ken and Ray's vacation becomes a life-and-death struggle of darkly comic proportions and surprisingly emotional consequences.
In Bruges, was Martin McDonagh feature directorial debut from his own original screenplay. Ever since their amazing double act in this film, McDonagh spent years thinking of a fit for Farrell and Gleeson in another story. It wasn’t until he landed upon the idea for The Banshees of Inisherin that the reunion was ready to happen.
This screening is a staff pick by executive director and programming director Brenda Moe.
"In Bruges is outlandish, absurdist, and extraordinary. Martin McDonagh built a script that allows Gleeson and Farrell to show off their wit and warmth as out of place hit men in a picturesque medieval city. If you've traveled with someone you're close with, some of the squabbling between Ray and Ken may sound familiar. In Bruges is simply a must-see film."
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