In Love with In Bruges

scene from In Bruges

In Bruges

I didn’t have a clue what to expect from In Bruges. I didn’t even know what that meant! Luckily, I wasn’t alone, as the character voiceover in the opening minutes admits he too has no clue what Bruges is.

Turns out it’s in Belgium. Now we know.

three characters from In Bruges

There is so much going on here it’s difficult to decide where to begin. In Bruges is as rich and tasty as Belgian chocolates. The visuals are stunning and evocative. Reminds me of Hannibal in a lot of ways, actually. There’s the old European streetscapes, the decadent classical themed music, the hints of dark humor and bad guys you gotta love. Each second of In Bruges is a treasure, a feast for eyes and ears and brain and even the heart.

I was discussing film with some buddies when Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri came up. It’s a strange name for a film, I thought it might be a gimmicky stunt to capture attention. A more seasoned film buff than myself asked if I had seen In Bruges or Seven Psychopaths yet, these being the previous works of Martin McDonagh, the creator of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. I had not and so was lent to me two DVDs which changed my life!

I am ashamed to have been writing casually about film for several years now and to have never seen the works of Martin McDonagh until recently. Fortunately I have rectified the situation and I encourage any of you who have not participated fully in life yet to not miss out on the works of this great man.

In Bruges features the sort of character driven plot that would be hypnotizing on a one room stage set. Hitmen sent to a relatively small, quiet European town after a job kill time in very different ways as reflects their opposing personalities. Throw in lush scenery and captivating music, some symbolic art, dwarves, guns and hookers, and things rapidly descend into a sort of farcical chaos, but never actually farce. Things remain serious and often silly at once – it is a testament to the filmmakers to be able to achieve this level of balance, all of which is grounded in a very masculine morality – a sort of code of conduct and discipline which is all too lacking in many characters on the big screen (to say nothing of real life!). This grounding sort of hits in the gut. Our society is somewhat lacking in good masculine self discipline if you ask me, and it is very effective to see it on screen where it adds weight and center to what would otherwise be a pointless exercise in drama and futility. I’ve said nothing of the darker themes of the film, so as not to spoil the event. Now, go and find this film and bask in the glory that is film!

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