In Bruges

Rated 3.0

A couple of professional killers have been sent to Bruges, Belgium, to hide out. The older one (Brendan Gleeson) is much taken with the religious history and medieval glories of the old city, all of which seems utterly lost on the younger one (Colin Farrell). Nothing about Bruges interests Farrell’s Ray at all until he encounters some distinctly contemporary sights that he deems irresistible—namely, a streetwise blonde (Clémence Poésy) and, no less crucially, a film crew shooting a street scene with a dwarf (Jordan Prentice) in it. Indeed, Ray’s sudden fascination advances the sardonic edges in the film’s comedy of generational gaps while also hinting at dimensions of twisted religiosity and spirituality still yet to come. Ray, as it turns out, is the most intriguing aspect of In Bruges, partly for his conflicted mixture of cluelessness and dawning moral awareness and partly out of Farrell’s charming way with both the comic pathos and the thuggish naïveté of the character. And conflicted mixtures of several sorts are everywhere present in this gleefully erratic comedy-drama, which marks the feature-film debut of playwright Martin McDonagh as a writer-director.