Hitmen Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) have been ordered to relax in the medieval Belgian city of Bruges (pronounced 'broozh') by their boss Harry (Ralph Fiennes) to cool their heads for a couple of weeks after a difficult job.
They are both a bit out of place amidst the ancient architecture, canals, and cobbled streets; Ray hates the place but the fatherly Ken rather enjoys the beauty and serenity. But the longer they stay waiting for Harry's call, the more surreal their experience becomes, as they find themselves in weird encounters with locals, tourists, violent medieval art, a dwarf American actor (Jordan Prentice) shooting a European art film, Dutch prostitutes, and a potential romance for Ray in the form of Chloë (Clémence Poésy), who may have some dark secrets of her own.
Director McDonagh made Six Shooter, also starring Brendan Gleeson, which earned him the 2006 Academy Award for Best Live-Action Short Film.
Best Actor (Comedy) for Colin Farrell, Golden Globes 2009.
Every once in a while we get a film that's hard to categorise, and this is one of them. In Bruges is a weird mix of bloody violence and situational comedy that occasionally provides a sombre meditation on mortality, and even functions as a picturesque travelogue to boot. And it works. An original, engaging screenplay is brought to life with terrific performances by Farrell and Gleeson, taking a few unpredictable twists and turns on its way to a cracker of an ending.
Closer to pics like “The Hit” and “Miller’s Crossing” than to McDonagh’s bristling, funny plays, this half-comic, half-serious account of two Irish hitmen who are sent to the titular Belgian burg to cool their heels after a job is moderately fair as a nutty character study, but overly far-fetched once the action kicks in.