If you havent had your fill of senseless, bloody violence, heres another dose of swearing and shooting blarney. Following in the sprockets of Quentin Tarantinos Pulp Fiction, its 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.
Hes 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) whos 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 youre really heavily into guilt and sins and hell and all that.