Tuesday, February 12, 2008

In Bruges: A GOOD Colin Ferrell flick?

After many years of going to the movies, I still look forward to the new openings every Friday. Back in the day, I was hardcore action flicks: Bruce Lee, Charles Bronson, Arnold, Stallone, etc. As time goes on, I've been more and more attracted to art house and foreign films. Don't get me wrong, I'm definitely looking forward to Indiana Jones, Iron Man, the new Batman and of course, 007, but the films in between the big boys are the ones that tend to stick with me.

'In Bruges', the new film starring Colin Ferrell, Ralph Fiennes and Brendan Gleeson is a small film set in Bruges, Belgium and it packs its own, quirky, weird but effective punch.

Ferrell and Gleeson are two small time hitmen who are sent to Bruges to cool off after a hit in London goes wrong. Ferrell is a rookie killer who hates Bruges, with a guilty conscience, while Gleeson is the veteran who's tired and is fond of the quaintness of Bruges. Late in the film, Fiennes appears as the boss who has issues to resolve with both men, leading to an unpredictable but satisfying climax.

Colin Ferrell burst on the scene several years ago in Joel Schumacher's underrated and little seen, 'Tigerland'. He immediately showed signs of being an interesting personality with considerable acting skills to match. Farrell quickly became Hollywood's latest bad boy,landing in the tabloids with regularity. He made many more movies, one more forgettable than the last until he bottomed out with Oliver Stone's 'Alexander the Great'. Farrell also became a father and did a brief stint in rehab, coming out if it all a bit more adult and more selective about his work.

Seen last month in Woody Allen's thriller 'Cassandra's Dream', Farrell was convincing as man deep in trouble that he wasn't smart enough to get himself out of. Now with his performance in 'Bruges', Farrell shows a variety of shades as the off kilter killer. At once funny, outrageous and pathetic, Farrell creates a character that you should be repulsed by, but you find yourself hoping he can pull it all off.

Gleeson, one of the best character actors working today, doesn't strike one false note. Content with being Farrell's straight man, he brings enormous pathos to his slump shouldered character.

The other surprise of the film is Fiennes, who jumps at the opportunity to play someone totally opposite of the type of roles that he's known for. Rude, vulgar but embued with his own peculiar sense of honor, Fiennes character is cut from the same cloth as Ben Kingsley's scary killer in the memorable 'Sexy Beast'.

There's also a love story and a subplot with a midget that ultimately pulls the story all together. 'In Bruges' is a perfect example of the ideal way to see a small, indie type flick: not much hype, no big expectations, that results in just a nice night out at the movies.

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