"I take orders from the Octoboss."

In Bruges

tn_inbrugesIN BRUGES is an intimate crime story about two hitmen – I know, but hear me out – forced to stay in the titular Belgian town while things cool down after a job gone wrong. Ken (Brendan Gleeson) is the veteran who’s happy to take advantage of the down time to relax and look at tourist spots, Ray (Colin Farrell) is his young partner who has no interest and pouts like a kid dragged along on the wrong vacation. He’s also the one that fucked up the job and is racked with guilt and depression.

It’s mostly about these two characters and their conversations, but along the way they meet various side characters and have little incidents, many of which tend to lead to other things that will eventually tie together in the end. So it feels loose but it’s actually tight. All the while hanging over them is the mostly unspoken threat that their boss (Ralph Fiennes) will not in fact call for them to come home, but come to kill one or both of them. By the time we meet him he’s a complex dude – a hotheaded asshole who insulted the poor lady at the front desk of the hotel, who’s gonna have a character we like killed, but who has a wife and kids that it seems like he tries to be good to. More importantly he did a major life-changing solid for Ken back in the ’70s that would cause him to be loyal.

mp_inbrugesBut Ray is mostly oblivious. He has alot to keep his mind off of so he concentrates on trying not to get bored. He gets out of the hotel, finds an independent film shoot, gets a date, gets some coke, makes fun of Ken for drinking “gay beer” (Stella Artois or something) but later orders one himself.

Ken isn’t as interested in partying, he wants to commune with history. He brings Ray to a medieval church and explains how there’s a thing that people have believed for hundreds of years contains the blood of Jesus and that you’re allowed to touch it. Ray opts not to touch it, but it doesn’t seem like it’s out of some religious objection or worry about his worthiness as a child-killer to touch a holy object. No, it just seems like he’s not interested. It’s like “Hey, you wanna go get a drink?” “Nah, I’m kinda tired, I think I’m gonna go to bed.” Or maybe “You want a piece of gum?” “Nah.”

And of course Ken is thinking they say it’s the fucking blood of Jesus. Why would you not want to touch it!? Just on the off chance? What a great way of showing a generation gap, or just a personality gap. I can relate to Ken thinking jesus, these young people today, they just don’t give a shit about anything. At least he does appreciate the Hieronymous Bosch painting “The Last Judgment,” which they go to see. This was filmed in the real Bruges so I’m assuming they really got to shoot the real painting. I don’t think Ray really cares that it’s more than 500 years old and by one of the greatest painters who ever lived, but just that it’s some crazy fucked up Hell stuff and he’s curious about that kind of thing, given his situation. It doesn’t matter. He looks at it and he appreciates it in a personal way.

The blood of Jesus, though! The Jesus. Not interested.

So Bruges is a place that can be amazing or boring depending on the visitor. It can be a beautiful vacation spot or it can be Hell. Or at least Purgatory. There’s some discussion about that.

They’re interesting characters because they’re all pretty much bad people, but all trying to do something out of a sense of honor. When Ken chooses his loyalty to one friend over another he doesn’t just tell the other guy to go fuck himself (which would be best for self-preservation purposes), he waits to see him face to face, explains his reasoning, accepts the consequences, even says he deserves it. In a way they’re trying to do the right thing, but they’re all at least a little bit dumb or mistaken and that makes it harder for things to turn out well.

In some ways IN BRUGES reminds me of Mr. Tarantino’s works – it’s this very character-driven, dialogue-heavy story about criminals, largely in their off-time, and acting like goofy normal people who sometimes talk about stupid things or get into silly arguments, sometimes have really cool clever things to say to each other. It’s a serious story but with a bunch of really big, usually dark laughs. It’s not an action movie, but occasionally erupts into violence in a way that is at times shocking in its bluntness. I mean, there’s a couple of real disgusting moments here. But it’s not what you come away thinking about, it’s just one minor ingredient in the recipe.

Also it has very solid, classical camerawork, very nice-looking but nothing hyperactive or show-offy to try to artificially elevate the energy of the thing. If I remember right the trailer might’ve made it seem like a Guy Ritchie type of deal. There is no Guy Ritchie in this movie. Nothing against Guy Ritchie, but he was actually locked up in a cage during the entire filming of this movie just to make sure he wouldn’t show up in Belgium, that he would never come in contact with anybody who worked on it, any prop that ended up on camera, etc. Some kind of British law, they were able to get away with that I guess. Seems like a violation of human rights, as a liberal I am against it but obviously I can understand why they felt it was necessary. (source: N/A)

Anyway it’s more Tarantino than Ritchie, but it’s very un-Tarantino in that it’s in this medieval town, pop culture rarely intrudes (I guess there’s some discussion of Nicolas Roeg’s DON’T LOOK NOW), all the characters are European (except some American tourists, who are made fun of), it has lots of pretty stuff in it (old churches, swans, light reflecting off castles at night) and most importantly the music is a gentle, somber score, no upbeat vintage tunes to add swagger or ironically underscore bad things that are happening.

So it reminds me of things I like about Tarantino’s movies while not once reminding me of the various Tarantino knock-offs of the late ’90s. I don’t know if this writer/director Martin McDonagh (who was winning awards for his plays while Tarantino was becoming a phenomenon) was influenced much by Tarantino or not. It feels like they just independently came to similar conclusions about a good way to tell a story.

I just looked it up and his most recent play was A Behanding In Spokane starring Christopher Walken. When I first heard of that play the title sounded like a fictional parody play for a Walken cameo in some comedy, but I don’t know. Maybe it’s good. Between that and THE HIT LIST maybe Spokane, Washington is gonna take over as the state’s media capital.

I know alot of people already figured out a long time ago what a good actor Farrell is, but I’m really seeing it now between this and the remake of FRIGHT NIGHT and even that comedy HORRIBLE BOSSES (where he was one of the funnier parts but wasn’t in it enough). Here he has great comic timing, he’s believable as a dominant physical force in the scuffles that happen, but also has this sort of boyish innocence that makes you forgive him for saying horrible things or for, you know, being a murderer.

This is also a movie that takes place around Christmas. I like adding to my Christmas crime list. Every Christmas it’s good to watch some kind of a Scrooge or a Rudolph, and some Christmas horror and some Christmas crime. And also give money to the poor or whatever. Nice things.

If for some reason you put off seeing this one even longer than I did I highly recommend watching it now. You always knew you’d probly like it, and you were right.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 14th, 2011 at 3:21 am and is filed under Crime, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

67 Responses to “In Bruges”

  1. You know that Mickey Rourke bailed on McDonagh’s new one, SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS? He said of the director: “That guy can go play with himself.”

  2. So I guess Farrell finally became good? Sorry, but he always came across as pretty bland to me, (Except for his mega acting take in DAREDEVIL), which is why I avoided most films with him. (It also helped, that he didn’t make many movies, that made it on top of my watchlist.) I guess his hilarious guest spot in SCRUBS should have been a hint. Oh well, I got the DVD of IN BRUGES here (5€ blind buy, based on the constant praise from my fellow outlawverndotcomrades), so I think I know what I’m gonna watch today.

  3. Thanks Vern. Solid. The masses cry out and you deliver. This is one of my favorites. People constantly give me crazy eyes when I talk about liking Farrell as an actor and this is always the first thing I pull off my shelf as proof. He doesn’t always make gems by any stretch but I enjoy his work more often then not.

    I don’t know much about Seven Psychopaths other then the information released thus far but I’m in based off the director and cast, and especially interested to see if he pulls another great performance out of Farrell.

  4. For more of the Brendan Gleeson criminality, check out I WENT DOWN. For some reason it was only ever released on DVD in Australia, but it’s up on the youtube, first half here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qA8iWqB_hQM

  5. This has been sitting on my shelf, still in it’s wrapper for over two years – I keep forgetting I even have it.
    Another decent Brendan Gleeson outing is Perrier’s Bounty, which also stars Cillian Murphy and Jim Broadbent.

  6. This film has one of the best script of the last 10 years. Not trying to sound hyperbolic, but every line matters, every character is interesting and as stated, the plot may seem loose but is actully incredibly tight and detailed. Plus it has a dwarf on Kettamine which always improves any movie.

    Vern, I suggest you check out THE GUARD, also starring Gleeson and written and directed by Martin McDonagh’s brother. It’s another hilarious foul-mouthed gem.

  7. A terrific film just for the scene in the restaurant with the tourists (I think Matt Frewer may be one). Also the hotel room scene with the dwarf.

    I heard that the current Doctor, Matt Smith, is in the outtakes.

  8. I like this one too, but I have to admit that it feels a bit anemic compared to, say, SEXY BEAST, THE HIT (the Terrence Stamp one, not the Blair Underwood one) or THE LIMEY. IN BRUGES just seems so damn reasonable. But that’s just a small quibble.

  9. Yeah this is one of the rare Movies, that adds something to the Tarantino School of Crime Movie DJ’ing.
    Loved every minute of it, especially the dynamic between Farrel and Gleeson.
    That the Music is by Carter Burwell is 7 out of 10 times a sure sign, that you going see something you won’t regret rentin’ afterwards.

  10. So after all the begging, Vern, it took the fucking FRIGHT NIGHT remake to get you to review this. You are an enigma, good sir. Your motives are your own.

    This one was kind of a sleeper for me. It was shown to me by the same girl who showed me THE BOONDOCK SAINTS, so obviously my hopes were not too high, considering her taste in post-Tarantino crime cinema. I kind of kept that chip on my shoulder for the whole viewing experience, never letting it really get to me (in my defense, I had boobies on the brain) but the realization of how good the movie was crept up on me over the next few days and I ended up buying it a week later. Sometimes those are the best movies, the ones that don’t smack you in the grill with their awesomeness but just let you come to terms with their awesomeness in your own time. I guess Jareth is right in describing IN BRUGES as “so damn reasonable.”

  11. Such a beautiful film, and finally one where the Irish speech patterns and sense of humour legitimately comes across in a non-condescending way. This film is an interesting one as although it wasn’t an Irish production and didn’t do all that well over here we still consider it an “Irish” film, for obvious reasons. “The Guard” however is a legit Irish film, and a great one at that. If you dug this Vern, you’ll love it. It’s a buddy cop western set in Connemara with similar humour and themes to this one. Between the two films Gleeson has earned the Oscar he is yet to get. Not sure if “The Guard” qualifies as arthouse badass, can anyone who’s seen it confirm if it does? The guidelines are fuzzy to me.

  12. Hey Continental Op, are you the same Continental Op who was always getting me in trouble on AICN when I was going by TheContinentalOp? If so, thanks for giving me that one last push I needed to never, ever post there ever again.

  13. I really liked this movie.

    My only complaint, and I guess this is a complaint that stems from it being compared to Tarantino, is that the whole movie wraps together too neatly. There’s so much to like about this movie that the very neat and “clever” ending just seems to diminish everything that came before.

    It’s still very good, but I appreciate it more than I like it.

  14. I enjoyed this movie so much that I actually made a trip to Bruge earlier this year. And for those who’ve seen it, yes, I went up into the tower. There was nary a fat American in sight.

  15. Surfinerd – “That the Music is by Carter Burwell is 7 out of 10 times a sure sign, that you going see something you won’t regret rentin’ afterwards.” That’s actually not that great a compliment… might as well say that the Corrs are proof that genetic engineering works 75% of the time.

    Continental Op – I haven’t seen a Hammett reference here for months. Good timing sir.

    Good to finally see an “In Bruges” review here. Everyone else liked it? Yep, I’m not gonna go against the flow on this one… I thought it was excellent.

  16. Majestyk – to be honest I watched this before Fright Night, but posted the reviews consecutively for thematic purposes.

  17. You disappoint me, Paul. I was hoping you were going to inform us that Burwell is actually an incompetent hack and his atrocious MILLER’S CROSSING score was not fit to penetrate the mite-infested ear canals of diseased swine. You must be having an off day.

  18. So what’s up next in FarrellFest 2011? TIGERLAND? HART’S WAR? AMERICAN OUTLAWS?

  19. Know it’s not really your scene, Vern, but McDonagh’s stageplays are simply BRILLIANT. “Behanding” was funny but far from his best (even though it was kind of amazing seeing Walken and Sam Rockwell on stage together). If you have a moment, you’d do well to pick up and read “The Cripple of Inishmaan”, “The Lieutenant of Inishmore”, and perhaps most notably, “The Pillowman”, all three of which are rather breathtaking, and read as well as they play.

    “Six Shooter,” his Oscar-winning short, is very good too. “Bruges” is probably one of very favorite works of a debut feature writer/director.

  20. Majestyk – joking aside, I don’t know Burwell at all. I’ve probably heard his work but he hasn’t registered as a composer I’d look out for (or one I’d avoid either). I’ll have to look him up.

  21. Especially if he’s done the Coens.

  22. Thanks for finally reviewing this one Vern. The deleted scenes are really good too, and largely just seem to be cut for the sake of time/redundancy.

  23. No special feature will ever top the fuck reel, though.

  24. Paul, he hasn’t just done the Coens. He’s done ALL the Coens. The amazing yodeling theme from RAISING ARIZONA? Him. The haunting piano riff from BLOOD SIMPLE? Him. The aforementioned funereal dirge from MILLER’S CROSSING? Him. Even the shitty-on-purpose-but-still-kind-of-awesome techno song the nihilists are playing on their boombox in LEBOWSKI? Him. He’s a dude you can count on when you got a movie and you need some fuckin’ music for it.

    Also, his weird-ass electro sound collages for PSYCHO III are pretty hilarious in my opinion.

  25. Mr. Majestyk – I assure you sir, I am not that man. Never posted there in my life! First time posting here to be honest, long time reader of this site. Incidentally, watched your namesake the other night get his watermelons blown the fuck out of. It’s like the shower scene in Schindler’s List for foodstuffs.

    His stageplays are excellent, they get a lot of grief here for the way the Irish are portrayed as McDonagh’s lived in London all his life (family hails from Galway).

  26. Martin Mcdonagh is nothing but awesome. “Pillowman” is my favorite, but “The Lieutenant of Inishmore” would make the best movie. How can you not love the heartwarming tale of a psychopath slaughtering people to avenge his dead cat?

    (I was in a production once and it took an hour of showering every night to get all the fake blood off. That’s quality theatre right there)

  27. SUBTEXT SPOILER: The entire second half of the movie is a series of scenes recreating that Bosch painting.

  28. I really like Farrell as an actor. The only bad performance I’ve ever seen him give, even out of the films he’s been in that have been subpar, was in “The Recruit”. (Although he was REALLY bad in that one. Sort of the equivalent of Phillip Seymour Hoffman in “Twister”, although PSH had the excuse that he was playing a character who was basically nothing more than an attitude and a series of overly-enthusiastic yells.)

  29. Zombie Paul – Totally agree. Back then he was more focused on having lots of sex with the world’s most beautiful women and getting fucked out of his gourd. Noble pursuits. Then when he sobered up and started having various children he started to really focus himself as a serious artist following his own path. “In Bruges”was the one to show his new side though, and it’s his career best by far. Himself and the rest of Ireland’s best are all up for parts in Gleeson’s directorial debut, “At-Swim-Two-Birds”. Gleeson is going to be hailed in years to come as one of the key figures in putting an Irish cultural cinema on the international map. If there’s any justice anyway.

  30. Just to throw in something totally random, speaking of soundtracks,
    I always loved Jack Nitzsches eerie openig credits score for
    Cutter and Bone a.k.a. Cutter’s Way (1981) and George Tiptons
    Soundtrack for Badlands (1973).
    Badlands surely needs not another recommendation, but Cutter’s Way
    is a real nugget of a Crimemovie.

  31. vern i’m surprised you didn’t mention in more detail the awesome scene with dinklage in the hotel room (maybe you were just trying to leave some surprises). i love how dinklage spouts that horrible racist crap but then later apologizes for it and he becomes kinda likable, which i can’t imagine happening really in any other movie where a character would (seemingly sincerely) say those kinds of things. similar with ralph fiennes character. for at least the first half of the movie, you think he is just an uber-asshole and an out-and-out villain, but by the end you kind of understand him and like him, and the characters all seem to at least respect each other, and you understand why, and none of it seems forced. much truer to life than most movies in this genre.

    i guess it was from the trailers though i don’t remember for sure, but before i saw this movie i had gotten the impression that it was much more of an overt comedy. i was taken aback by how melancholy it was (though of course it has lots of laugh-out-loud moments) (side note: if only there was some easier way of typing “laugh-out-loud”).

    i’ve always thought colin farrell turned in a good to great performance in everything i’ve seen him in (yes, even DAREDEVIL – he was literally the only enjoyable part of that one for me), but he most impressed me in this and, in a much less showy performance, in CRAZY HEART.

    anyway, if it wasn’t totally clear i liked this one a lot!

    i also like this movie for one reason completely divorced from the actual content of the movie: it was involved with one of a pair of news stories that came out around the same time that revealed ralph fiennes to be a total party animal sex freak. one was when he had sex with that flight attendant in the airplane toilet, and the other was when he had multiple complaints called in to the police for having noisy parties with multiple naked women in the swimming pool of the place he was staying at in bruges during the making of this movie. awesome! (i also love the story of the police being called to matthew mcconnaughey’s house in austin because he and a friend were stoned and banging on bongos at night in front of their windows TOTALLY NAKED, but this story benefits from the gap between it and fienne’s perceived persona).

    also, as another total side note, i dig the czech movie poster, vern. i lived in prague for a little bit and i loved to see all the movie posters for the movies that came out then (1997) and see the titles in czech (one i remember in particular is FLIRTING WITH DISASTER, which in czech was called FLIRTOVANI S KATASTROFOU. dunno why, but i get a big kick out of that).

  32. oh and also great to see some internetlove for carter burwell, my favorite current score composer. his scores for FARGO, BEING JOHN MALKOVICH, and ADAPTATION are excellent, too!

  33. That actually wasn’t Peter Dinklage, but yeah, I was trying to be good about not bringing up some of the funny things that happen in case somebody besides me hasn’t seen it. But since you brought it up the biggest laugh of the movie for me I can’t even explain but it’s the part where Farrell sees the dwarf and gives him a big condescending smile and double thumbs-up.

    Thanks for bringing up CRAZY HEART, I forgot about that but it’s another example of a really good performance and unexpectedly nuanced character by him.

  34. I considered this movie to be in the lowest 5 percentile. I’m pretty forgiving, and couldn’t even give this one 3 stars.

  35. Is he in much of Crazy Heart? Looks like Gleeson is getting his larger than life action movie villain on in “Safe House” as well. A role like that is a long time coming to him, he’s made for it.

  36. fuck, that wasn’t dinklage? i feel like such a… size-ist? heightist? i dunno what it’s called, but i feel bad about it…

  37. dwarfophobe… ?

  38. Dude, it’s not Dinklage, the guy’s name is Jordan Prentice. I guess all dwarves look alike…

    Oh and Carter Burwell has done the score for two of the Twilight movies. That must be part of that 3 out of 10 that didn’t turn out so well, eh?

    Vern, I have to echo all the love for The Guard. I may have even posted about it in other comment sections. Do yourself a solid; the movie hits DVD, etc. on January 3rd. See that shit. One of my top 10s of 2011 for sure. Yeah, it qualifies as arthouse badass.

  39. In all fairness, that specific little person DOES look a lot like Dinklage.

  40. Some Black people look alike. Some Asians too. It’s not ‘bigoted’ to confuse that guy for DInklage. He plays 90% of all dwarf roles in movies and this other guy could be his stunt double.

    Are there little people stunt doubles? I figure there must be, playing children or Chucky dolls, mainly.

  41. The Guard is not that great, guys. Sure it’s likeable and Brendan Gleeson is great in it, but it’s such a small, understated film, nothing really happens and it’s quite forgettable. Also, the villains annoyed the shit out of me. Same old post-Tarantino, “let’s talk about dumb shit while we execute people” bullshit. Not even Mark Strong and Liam Cunningham were able to elevate that material to something cooler.

    In Bruges is way, way better in my opinion.

  42. Mike A – It’s definetly the quieter, more understated one, but I found certain things really stuck with me a long time afterwards. The bad guys DO get stuck with that “shite talk on the job” thing, which grates at first, but at least it’s related thematically to the overall film. And Cunningham’s character represents a very recognisable Irish villain that is very relevant today. I’ve got a feeling he modelled his performance on ex-Taoiseach/swindling crook Bertie Aherne. The way he treats the younger guard when pulled over is bang-on the money and great writing.

  43. Continental – that might be true, but not being Irish myself I didn’t really get that reference (had to look up Bertie Aherne on wikipedia just now). I do agree that certain moments stick with you, in fact I should not have used the word “forgettable” because almost a month after I saw it, I still remember a number of funny or poignant moments. I think I just expected something more after reading so many rave reviews, and as I said, I was pretty disappointed in the villains.

  44. Yeah true, the reviews went mad for the larger-than-life parts of it, which may not have helped matters. It was filmed literally next door to me so it may be misguided affection on my part. But no one can deny Gleeson’s performance, and I’ve a soft spot for Cunningham, an underrated character actor.

  45. Burwell did “Being John Malkovich”? Damn, I LOVE that score. Yeah, should know him for that if nothing else. (And all those Coen pictures hardly count as “nothing else”.)

  46. Best Carter Burwell score is The Jackal. Horrible, horrible film but I still listen to that score!

  47. Mike A – for a moment there I thought you were talking about the brilliant Edward Fox classic, thinking “wait a sec, that doesn’t even HAVE music.” Then I realised you meant the Bruce Willis / Richard Gere “re-imagining”… yeah, I vaguely remember thinking the score to that one was good, even though the film wasn’t.

  48. Weird, I just googled Burwell’s score for The Jackal to see if I could buy it somewhere, then came across some comments that he apparently made about it:

    “He ended up bringing on a record producer names Danny Saber to “remix” my score. Michael politely asked if I wanted to be included in this process, but my one day of sitting in on Danny’s sessions was too dispiriting to repeat. He was overdubbing electric guitar power chords over David Torn’s much more interesting guitar work. In the end all I could do was listen to Danny’s results and list a few pieces that I thought were frankly embarassing in that hope that Michael would not use them. In the end they were all in the film. I considered taking my name off the film, but felt there was just enough of my music there to justify keeping it as it was.”

    So the music that I like so much has apparently been fucked up the butt by some producer guy and the end result is an embarrassment to the original composer. What does that say about my taste in music, I wonder.

    Link: http://www.thebodyinc.com/projects/Jackal.shtml

  49. Caoimhín; I WENT DOWN is finally on release in Ireland. You can probably order a copy of it at http://www.ifi.ie/shop/ and they’ll post it to you (or drop in, if you’re local).

  50. Yeah, saw it in Dunnes Stores the other day, couldn’t believe it. Good film, interesting to see it in the light of In Bruges and Perrier’s Bounty.

  51. Quick question, since when was Liam Hensworth going to be in the Expendables 2? I don’t ever remember his name coming up when we were talking about the cast list.

  52. Tawdry – i dunno if you’ve been watching ricky gervais’ current series “life’s too short,” but it’s a mockumentary-style sitcom where warwick davis plays an exaggerated and assholey version of himself as a struggling dwarf actor, and in one bit in the 3rd episode he takes a job as a stand-in for a child actor on a movie opposite helena bonham carter (…with HILARIOUS RESULTS!). i assume this is based on something that dwarf actors actually do.

  53. Jam – Are you Jamie Hannigan??

  54. Well? Are you? Talk, dammit! Are you Jamie Hannigan? Who is Keyser Soze? HOWDITGETBURNED?!

  55. Almost as if he’s doing penance for all the SWATS and DEREDEVILS he sleepwalked through back when he was getting the big bucks, Farrell seems dead set these days on giving great performances in films which virtually no one will ever see. Recent examples other than this are his excellent work in Neil Jordan’s ONDINE and his stunning performance in Woody Allen’s CASSANDRA’S DREAM, literally one of the most interesting acting performances Ive ever seen stuck in a indifferently directed, overplotted bore.

  56. Because if you are that is one fine short film you made.

  57. I’m one of the bafflingly few that despise IN BRUGES. The only one who reads Vern, maybe. Introducing a comedy midget (often a sign of true, juvenile desperation in a comedy) was the final straw in the whole poorly-shot thing. I certainly take odds at the ugly, overuse of steadicam being “classical.” But what do I know? Just one question for all the guys who post responses here… do any of you from either Ireland or the UK love this movie? I’m intrigued at other GB & I folks’ thoughts on the Irish stereotypes and Ralph Fiennes’… um… interestingly posh interpretation of a Cockney geezer.

  58. What irish stereotypes? Ray and Ken just seem like a couple of guys. You could have had two english guys instead and very little would be different about them. As for Fiennes…all english gangsters have to be cockney? Since when?

  59. Murder, I’m from the UK – Wales to be exact – and I thought it was great. Other than that I gotta go with Stu here – for the life of me I don’t see what’s stereotypically Irish about Gleeson, Farrell OR Fiennes. Except maybe the accents of the first two. I thought that, morally speaking at least, the three main characters of the film were pretty complex. Which is a large part of why it works for me, given that it’s essentially an old-fashioned morality tale where the characters of the main protagonists contribute to the circumstances that cause their eventual fates.

  60. On the other hand, I’m the guy who doesn’t like “Vertigo”. So I can understand why a film that nearly everybody loves would strike one person particularly badly. Can’t agree with you on “In Bruges” though.

  61. Just watch Malick’s The New World, Vern. It’s pretty much the definition of a cinematic masterpiece, as far as my tastes go.

    And Farrell is truly great in it.

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  63. I have to echo Mike A and say I really didn’t feel The Guard was all that great at all. It felt too loose and never really made the best use of all the great actors they had in the cast.

    In Bruges, on the other hand, is just fantastic. Tightly plotted, even though it seemed to have throwaway lines and scenes that you would not think was going anywhere. And another great thing is it makes use of the “show the gun – use the gun” concept and turning it on its head by introducing things that you think will pay off but don’t, while secretly planting things you don’t think means anything but eventually will come into play later.

    It’s just a great example of actors giving their best to elevate material that is already great as scripted.

  64. Just saw SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS, and my god it’s wonderful. IN BRUGES is the superior film to it, but it has a crazed wonderful energy all it’s own. 75% of it coming from Sam Rockwell, who’s always but always on the thin line between psycopathy and pure unadulterated joy.

  65. @onthewall112983: Fuckin’ A right!, son. Saw Seven Psychopaths at a matinee yesterday; loved it. Verged into that “movie within a movie” surreal territory that Charlie Kaufman has explored, but it was better done here. I utterly loved that part when they’re out in the desert (well, Joshua Tree National Park, but to a ‘burb native like me… it’s the fuckin’ desert) and Rockwell holds court and lays out how HE thinks the rest of the movie should play out. He’s electric then, and great throughout the movie.

    One critic I read called it “a love letter to Walken”, and that’s nothing but the truth. Yes, he gets to strut his stuff as usual, and as only he can, but there’s a melancholy tinge to his performance that is just wonderful. Colin Farrell isn’t *quite* as colorful here as he was [in] In Bruges, but he nails it too. Ditto for Woody Harrelson, Kevin Corrigan, and (belated but big applause) Tom Waits.

    This movie was firing on all cylinders, and I hope to God Vern finds the time to see it, and share his usual flagrant acuity with us.

  66. Yeah, I saw SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS today and really enjoyed it. I have to get this on DVD again to see if I can work out if there was meant to be more of a connection between Hans’ and Zachariah’s backstories, given the similarities between the two. Also, was that Crispin Glover in the court scene from the Quaker segment? Googling it doesn’t confirm shit other than a number of people also seem to think so, and it really looked like him. It would kinda fit how the film has all these recognisable faces in it (or mistakenly recognisable faces, as I thought Abbie Cornish was Charlize Theron from the trailers, and that Olga Kurlyenko was Sophie Marceau), in smaller roles.

  67. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iBJbcHq-oU

    CALVARY, the follow-up to THE GUARD which I quite liked as well. This looks very good too.

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