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Movie Review: In Bruges

Alternate Title: The Last Judgment

Story: First time director and seasoned playwright, Martin McDonagh (The Lieutenant of Inishmore, The PIllowman and The Beauty Queen of Lenane) is going to have a fine career on the big screen. This first effort has some major warts but you can see a budding talent with a playwright's flair for dialogue in the making.

Two hit men, who botched a hit in England, are sent to Bruges, Belgium to await further orders from the boss. The older of the two enjoys the majestic history of medieval Bruges and sees it as an opportunity to get some culture and a much needed break from their normal murderous chores. The younger of the two describes their arrival in Bruges as nothing more than a boring shithole. The good news is that the dialogue between the men is fast, honest and believable. The contrast between the two is good movie making. The bad news is that the story starts to fall apart two-thirds of the way through and all accrued points fall away.

That said - if you want to see a new director, have some big laughs, some minor squirms and have 90 minutes to 'kill', check out this film. The town of Bruges makes for one heck of a background and made me want to book a trip there real soon (or as soon as the dollar gets stronger).

Acting: Colin Farrell does better is smaller films like this one. He has a quirkiness to his acting style that is suited to smaller films. Brendan Gleeson is wonderful as the older hit man. His well worn face and affable style of acting make you want to know his better. Ralph Fiennes as the boss, has one heck of a time playing an over the top role. Clémence Poésy as the drug dealing love interest was fine. Jordan Prentice as the dwarf gave the usually chosen dwarf, Peter Dinklage, a much needed break on the big screen.

Predilection: None

Critters: Two dogs and one swan.

Food: Some breakfast food and lots and lots of booze.

Sex Spectrum: A few kisses.

Soundtrack: A wonderful mix of music by Carter Burwell

Opening Titles: Just the title. All credits at the end.

Visual Art: Cinematography by Eigil Bryld was terrific. Bruges is a wonder of architecture and we also get to visit many of Bruges' cultural institutions and famous churches. We also get to leisurely visit with some great paintings including a wonderful Bosch.

Theater Audience: About 40 people, mostly men.

Weather: It was cold in wintry Bruges.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 2

Squirm Scale: The ending is pretty brutal.

Drift Factor: About two-thirds into the film I started to look at my watch.

Predictability Level: I was not sure where this film would end up.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine. If you like films about hit men, there are oodles to choose form.

Length: 90 minutes