In Bruges (2008) sounds like it could be a pre-watershed travelogue, but it’s actually an unlikely tale of friendship laced with profanity and presented under the 15 (R) age rating. It’s deeply dark and deeply funny, full of pathos, gravity, big ideas and even bigger canals. It is a remarkable accomplishment by writer-director Martin McDonagh to make such loathsome characters quite so loveable. Ray (Colin Farrell) is sulkier and harder to manage than any toddler, while Ken (Brendan Gleeson) is cultured and gentle. Ken’s love of sightseeing is somewhat at odds with his chosen vocation – assassin. After a job goes tragically wrong, the pair are sent to Bruges to lie low. Do they grow to appreciate Belgium’s best preserved medieval town in all its unique beauty? Sure… “it’s like a fucking fairy tale”.
In this Movie List from The Film Magazine, we are counting down the most impactful, hilarious and memorable moments from Martin McDonagh’s unforgettable debut, for this: the 10 Best In Bruges Moments.
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10. Chloë Drops Her Number On the Street
In Bruges is never going to pass the Bechdel Test, only four women speak during the whole thing (and one only to call Ken a motherfucker).
Chloë’s existence in the film is to act as a catalyst. It’s on their date that Ray assaults a Canadian (Željko Ivanek), and it’s her ex-boyfriend Eirik (Jérémie Renier) who ultimately alerts Harry to Ray’s whereabouts. But what a catalyst she is.
Chloë (Clémence Poésy) is the perfect fit for Ray. Her nonchalant drop of her business card onto the cobbles introduces her as carefree and elusive, and just oozes cool. A great antithesis to Ray’s nervous, excitable energy.
9. The Last Judgement
While in the Groeningemuseum, Ray and Ken discuss the Hieronymus Bosch painting, The Last Judgement.
‘When mankind will be judged for the crimes they’ve committed, you know’, Ken explains, as a slow realisation dawns on Ray’s face; his half whispered, ‘oh’, speaking volumes.
The foreshadowing in this moment is as subtle as a sledgehammer but it’s still great. Turns out two hitmen grappling with the concept of sin, Heaven and Hell is captivating, and full of insight such as ‘Purgatory’s the inbetweeny one.’
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