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</script></div>{/googleAds}Around the halfway point of In Bruges, when crime boss Harry Waters (Ralph Fiennes, always dependable) makes a hasty, unexpected departure for Bruges (pronounced "Broozh"), his wife asks, â"Why would anybody have to go to Belgium?" Ken (Brendan Gleeson) and Ray (Colin Farrell) would — well, they have, for starters. The two Londoner hit men work for Waters. At their boss' behest, they're laying low — hiding out actually — for a fortnight in Bruges, a gothic looking Belgian town known for its medieval architecture and world-class yeasty suds.

Ray messed up. Not such a big thing, considering, for someone just starting out in their chosen line of work, if not for the fact that his profession is terminating people for money. On his first assignment, Ray slew the designated target, a Catholic priest hearkening the executioner's wicked admissions, when the rookie assassin unloaded in the confessional — bless me father for I have sinned. Caught in the ballistic crossfire was an innocent little boy. It's unlikely Ray will receive penance for this murderous transgression. More like an eye for eye, Old Testament style.

In BrugesIn two weeks' span this pair of trained triggermen could kill anything — except time. With its sculpted verticality and pointed arches, Bruges, accruing more like a prominent character than merely a setting, overhangs like purgatory on earth. (â"Purgatory's kind of like the in-betweeny one.") Making the best use of its production location for any movie of recent vintage, In Bruges offers so many stinging jokes and comments, from its main players, at the locale's expense that we're never quite sure if we're laughing with Bruges — or at it. When in Rome; churches, canal rides, bell towers comprise the landscape and, thus, Ken and Ray's farcical touristy itinerary. Limbo is a homicidal sightseer's worst enemy.

All in all, it doesn't sound like too harsh a punishment. It's not for Ken. The older of the two, he's appreciatively taking in Bruges' culture. The more crass Ray is bored and doesn't mind telling his partner at every turn. (â"I used to hate history, didn't you? It's all just a load of stuff that's already happened"). Who says crime doesn't pay?

Underneath the disguise of his character Farrell relishes his Ray's idiotic impulsivity and the opportunity to drop F-bombs with frequency enough to earn Tony â"Scarface" Montana's approval (the word, and its derivatives, are uttered 126 times). Behind his mischievous Irish eyes - like a comic strip thought bubble - you can almost read his thoughts: I'm more comfortable in an actor's skin than my own. Sometimes the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. The three male leads all appear remarkably at ease with the blasphemous dialogue, making it seem like a more necessary, functional article of speech than it has any right to.

Boss Waters advises Ken that Ray must be dispatched to pay for his on-the-job mistake. In gangster calculations, addition by subtraction. Maybe Bruges is purgatory, or worse. Even in the face of Waters' gun-toting persuasiveness, Ken, having unintentionally diverted Ray's suicide attempt while on a mission to kill him, thinks better of eliminating his apprentice. â"The kid" deserves a chance to walk away from the life and begin anew. A case of gangster humanity. Life is more fragile for some than others, depending on whose got the bullets. Nevertheless, Fiennes' palpably indignant Waters isn't pleased. If you want something done right, do it yourself. For a man of Waters' precision and principles, these crises of compunction are rubbish.

With Bruges' cobblestone streets and stonework structures suggesting an antiquated aura, a violent showdown among three mobsters with competing psychological motivations is imminent. Sophomore writer-director Martin McDonagh (Six Shooter, 2004) captures a cast of cutthroat characters that carry on in a gratuitous, architecturally sumptuous universe much like you'd imagine Vincent Vega (John Travolta) to have roamed about before returning to the states in Pulp Fiction (1994). Guns, drugs, and sex, all wildly depicted and juxtapositioned with old world sensibilities. Taken together, crisscrossing the pond, crime's contraints knowing no borders.

Component Grades
3 Stars
3 Stars
DVD Experience
3 Stars


DVD Details:

Screen Formats: 2.35:1

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

Language and Sound: English: English: Dolby Digital 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; deleted and extended scenes; gag reel; bonus featurettes.

* Commentary
o No commentary track available
* Featurettes
o When in Bruges (13:49)
o Strange Bruges (7:28)
o F***ing Bruges
o A Boat Trip Around Bruges (05:42)
* Gag Reel - (06:00)
* 12 Deleted Scenes and 2 extended scenes (18:21)

Number of Discs: 1 with Keepcase Packaging