Colin Farrell is one of the more recognizable of the group of thirty-ish actors in Hollywood. He has fairly wide exposure for someone of his age, ranging from forgettable to mildly entertaining (SWAT, Daredevil) to workmanlike (The Recruit, Minority Report). He might have wanted to show his acting ability when he starred in the 2006 drama Ask the Dust: it was certainly unhappy enough, since the movie killed its most beautiful feature in one of the most depressing ways possible. At the end of his career, Farrell's best piece of work could well be his performance In Bruges.
In Bruges is the second film written and directed by Martin McDonaugh. Like the first film (2004's Six Shooter), it also stars Brendan Gleeson, who could not possibly be more perfect for his role.
Farrell plays his character, a hit man who had really bad luck on his first assignment, with flair. His Ray suffers from some defect, which may be as simple as attention deficit disorder. In any case, he demonstrates a physical genius to balance out his freneticism.
It is often hard to classify In Bruges. The action is usually very deliberate, with the focus on the dialog and scenery. The dialog deserves a special word. In Bruges contains a truly epic amount of cursing and vulgarity, but I do not believe it to be gratuitous, because it sounds very genuine. The Irish accents of the two leads are beautiful, and add to the charm, and this is a charming movie.
And a harsh movie. And a real movie. And a funny movie. This has evidently been billed as a comedy, which I most assuredly do not believe it is. It is instead a very well-rounded movie, with some very funny parts mixed for balance.
Ralph Fiennes plays a major supporting role as a mob boss who is both truly admirable and loathsome. Like the other characters, he is very real in many ways, both simplistic and complicated. If I dreamt of hell, I might see Ralph Fiennes. He is capable of being truly terrifying, while also projecting a knife-edged humor.
In Bruges isn't for anyone who is easily offended. If you can't handle violence, don't watch. For readers looking for a complicated movie outside of the normal pablum, this could be your perfect cup of tea. 3.5/5 stars.