“In Bruges” – Susan Granger reviews

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If you haven’t had your fill of senseless, bloody violence, here’s another dose of swearing and shooting blarney. Following in the sprockets of Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction,” it’s the story of two morally conflicted Irish gangsters from London.

“After I killed him,” hot-tempered Ray (Colin Farrell) explains in the introduction, “I dropped the gun in the Thames, washed the residue off my hands in the bathroom of a Burger King, and went home to await instructions.”

He’s told to go to the Flemish town of Bruges in Belgium with his older partner Ken (Brendan Gleeson) and await further instructions from their boss Harry (Ralph Fiennes).

While Ken would just like to go sightseeing in the cobblestone streets of medieval Bruges, Ray is miserably remorseful about accidentally killing an innocent youngster while assassinating a priest in his confessional – an emotion he acts out by 1) attempting suicide, 2) beating up a Canadian tourist, 3) chasing a prostitute (Clemence Poesy), arousing the ire of her pimp (Jeremie Renier), and 4) obsessing about a surly, racist dwarf (Jordan Prentice) who’s filming a surreal Dutch art movie there. This infuriates homicidal Harry, who has ordered Ken to kill Ray – and is forced to interrupt his Christmas holiday plans to do it himself.

Irish playwright and first-time feature-film writer/director Martin McDonaugh blithely skips from one hackneyed, un-funny vignette to another, punctuated by repetitive, often incoherent dialogue, as one actor reiterates what another has just said. Plus, McDonaugh has a quirky penchant for red, as in blood, as those who saw “The Lieutenant of Inishmore” on Broadway can attest. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “In Bruges” is an offbeat, off-putting 5 – unless you’re really heavily into “guilt and sins and hell and all that.”

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.