Friday, April 24, 2009

Review of In Bruges

Last Judgment Workshop of Hieronymus Bosch (This painting is used give a Twilight Zone style ending to the movie)

The CD jacket said that In Bruges is a dark comedy. If it wasn't for this, I probably would not have known it was a comedy. It's like those British comedies that are sometimes on PBS late at night. I can feel the jokes flying over my head. The laugh track only highlights that I don't get it and it's quite frustrating for me. In Burges doesn't have a laugh track but I didn't laughed once during the movie. Due to my track record with British comedies, I can only assume the the problem resides in me and not in the movie.

Starting this review out with my little issue you would think that I didn't like the movie In Burges. The truth is that I liked the movie. The movie has a rich layer of meaning to analyze and it has a good ending that reminds me of the old Twilight Zone episodes.

In Burges is about two hit men Ray and Ken who hide out in a small medieval town named Bruges. They are hiding in Burges due to Ray accidentally killing a young boy while taking out the Priest he was paid to kill. The hit men's boss, Harry, tells Ken that the murder of the child caused too much publicity and he orders Ken to kill Ray for his mistake. While Ken is about to kill Ray he stops Ray from killing himself. Ray wants to kill himself due to guilt of having killed the innocent boy. Harry then goes to Burges to kill both Ken and Ray due to Ken refusing to kill Ray. Then the movie ends with a showdown. The movie is more complicated than this but this gives a quick overview.

In Bruges asks the question, in a post-Christian world how do you gain redemption? Ray goes into a confessional to kill a Priest that has a hit out on him. Ray shoots the priest and while the priest tries to run an innocent boy is hit in the cross fire while praying in a pew waiting for his confession. To me this was analogous to saying that by rejecting the Church you threw out the baby with the bathwater and the rest of the movie looks into how to you gain back what was lost.

Harry's means of redemption in the movie was to follow a strict unforgivable honor code but when he thinks that he has not fulfilled the letter of his own law he commits suicide. Kens means is to suffer and die for his friend but even by doing this he may not have the power to redeem his friend. Ray's only means is true remorse and trying to cling to the good. The movie doesn't give an answer to the question. It leaves the answer for the viewer to ponder. I have to give the movie props because it does ask the question in a honest way. There are some gruesome scenes but if you have a strong stomach I would say go see it.

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