How many of you have heard of Bruges? I for one had never heard of it before I saw the movie and the sights and sounds make me want to visit this little town tucked away somewhere in Belgium.
In Bruges is the debut movie of Martin McDonagh and stars big names like Brenden Gleesen and Colin Farrel. The movie is a dark comedy and can be called a Noir Film laden with pathos and interspersed with many twists and turns. It gives a window into the mind of hitherto criminal who is inwardly torn apart by his guilt. Criminal and guilt, the two do not run parallel to each other, you may ask, yet the movie beautifully brings out a certain set of human rules and a tiny bit of humanity that still makes them humane.
Ray (Farell) and Ken are stuck In Bruges ‘the best preserved medieval city in Belgium’. Ray hates the sleepy, boring town and wants to run away to London where its more fun and entertaining. It seems both of them are waiting in Bruges, waiting for the next course of action or orders from the powers that be. The picturesque Bruges is a parable to Purgatory, where one is suspended before ones fate is decided.
At the very onset it is shown that, Ray cribs about the dull Bruges, and Ken tells him that had it not been for Ray, they would not have been in this god forsaken town at all. Ray cuts him off and rushes to the washroom where he cries and the distress comes out loud and clear. Something is not right somewhere and that is eating him up within, despite the bravado and smart talking façade. Soon we find out the reason for the two Irish hit men to be stuck in this little, sleepy hollow and Ray’s ever-increasing guilt. Ray kills a Priest in the church during confession and as the bullet pierces through the Priest’s body it hits a 4-5 year old child, who had his own set of confessions for God.
At the very beginning it was quite obvious that Ken and Ray are poles apart, their likes and dislikes very different. While Ken loved the town and wanted to savor its magnificent sights, the cobbled pathways, the pristine architecture, the conventional churches, Ray loathed every bit of it and longed to back to the action at London. As the movie progresses we see the camaraderie of the two increases and soon the fondness for this little place sets in, especially for Ray. Though he never says it in so many words but his actions and expressions all hint in this direction.
The much-awaited order comes from their leader Harry (Ralph Fiennes) over the phone – that Ken must eliminate Ray as the death of a child cannot go unpunished. Ken is visibly shaken and he pleads to Harry that Ray has been tormented by the event and his remorse would help him redeem himself since he was a ’good kid’. But Harry would not budge and according to him such an abominable act cannot go unpunished. Later on, in the movie, a fight ensues between the two and Harry manages to injure Ken. Ken frantically tries to save his friend Ray, and he rushes up the church tower and in a final moment of utter desperation throws himself off the ledge. Ray taken aback rushes to the almost dead Ken, only to be informed that he was in danger. Ken’s sacrifice goes wasted as Harry hunts Ray down and finally manages to get him.
The point of the movie that was at once, moving and sad, funny and poignant, tearjerker and dittzy, eventually drive home the fact that, circumstances can make someone a criminal, but circumstances cannot take away the finer human feelings from him.
In Bruges is a must watch film that will leave you wondering whose side to take and in the end you will be sympathizing with a child killer not the man who says the child killer should be condemned for life. Sigh! Human Beings are strange creatures and difficult to predict.
Here are some scenes from the movie