The 365 Best Films of the 2000s

Heroes of the Zeroes: In Bruges

Heroes of the Zeroes is Nick Rogers’ daily, alphabetical look back at the 365 best films of 2000-2009.

“In Bruges”
Rated R

Nineteen cumulative yards of bad hitman comedy should’ve sufficed for a decade. But joining “The Whole Nine Yards” and “The Whole Ten Yards” were the annoyingly yakkety-yak “You Kill Me” and the politically overwrought “War Inc.,” a sad sort-of sequel to the great “Grosse Pointe Blank.”

The great ones (“The Matador,” “Panic”) cut to the core of chaos and crisis in a bad profession for conscience to come calling. Still, neither went for the jocular or the jugular with such gusto as 2007’s “In Bruges.”

Moonlighting playwright Martin McDonagh quickly yanked a trapdoor on his gallows humor — jerking from wry cringe comedy to a surreal congregation of blinded skinheads, fat Americans and midgets on drug benders before a violent, solemn climactic parable about purgatory.

After a simple job acquires a high profile, hitman Ray (Colin Farrell) and his mentor, Ken (Brendan Gleeson), are ordered to lay low in the titular Belgian city by brutish boss Harry (Ralph Fiennes, a barking, brawling villain with twisted avenging-angel tendencies). The trio tears into its banter with the intimacy of the stage, even as Ray and Ken’s disobedience brings irate Harry to Bruges.

In a less crowded year, Farrell would’ve landed an Oscar nomination. Ray’s snide, snotty stir-craziness becomes understandable in a place of such lengthy history and death. Through his anguish, the second half feels like an ether-induced nightmare — a nod of the head to Hieronymus Bosch’s featured apocalyptic artwork. The end result is a disarming, dizzying, demented karmic carousel ride worth taking.



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4 Responses to “Heroes of the Zeroes: In Bruges”

  1. […] Film Festival, features a bravura performance by veteran character actor Brendan Gleeson (“In Bruges”) as a Catholic priest who must struggle with his faith and his priestly vows to protect the […]

  2. […] Michael McDonagh is the brother of Martin McDonagh, the writer-director of the hilariously dark “In Bruges.” But unfortunately, halfway through the viewing, I was tempted to hit the big old stop button, as […]

  3. […] what to make of “The Guard.” In terms of tone, it reminded me of another Gleeson film, “In Bruges,” made by John Michael McDonagh’s brother Martin. It’s the sort of movie that makes you […]

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Nick Rogers, The Film Yap. The Film Yap said: You're not going to bring that boy back, but you might save the next one. #bestfilmsofthedecade #heroesofthezeroes […]