Now on Netflix: In Bruges (2008)

Read this review of In Bruges starring Colin Farrell, and then make sure you're signed in and comment for a chance to win a copy of the script for the movie!

With the digital libraries of online streaming services expanding more and more, choosing which movie to watch has become difficult. I will be digging through these online queues in hope of bringing you a movie worth watching. This time, we're taking a look at Martin McDonagh's debut film, In Bruges (2008).

“Bruges is a shithole.”

While I’ve never been, this terse, to-the-point conclusion that Ray (Colin Farrell) exclaims upon his immediate arrival to the town that no one seems to know is in Belgium (I sure didn’t) sets the tone for some interesting dichotomies to follow in In Bruges (2008).

The very next line of dialogue uttered is a firm rebuttal from the calmer, almost fatherly Ken (Brendan Gleeson):

“Bruges is not a shithole.”

And while I’ll reserve a value judgment of the city of Bruges for someone who’s actually been, the “thriller” In Bruges is more of a character-driven dark comedy than the action packed, hitmen movie the plot and poster would lead you to believe—although the title is spot-on, it’s filmed on-location…“In Bruges.”

Directed by acclaimed Irish playwright and director, Martin McDonagh (Seven Psychopaths), In Bruges follows Ray and Ken—two hitmen—to the “fairy-tale fucking town” of Bruges, Belgium after a hit goes very wrong—Ray accidentally kills a little boy in the process of knocking off a priest. Their boss, Harry (Ralph Fiennes), has instructed them to hide out in the remote, “most well-preserved medieval town” for two weeks—to the dismay of the childish Ray.

Ray is unimpressed by everything Bruges has to offer, pouting at every turn, until he happens upon a film being made and is entranced that it stars (his words not mine) a midget. His mood quickly changes as he witnesses the beautiful Chloe (Clémence Poésy) and strikes up a conversation with her—an awkward one, yet oddly endearing—securing a date.

Ken on the other hand, is soaking it in, allowing the history and charm of the city to come through. However, the trip turns dark very quickly and it’s clear that tragedy is on the horizon. I wouldn’t dare spoil the ending for you, but let’s just say that it’s as hilarious as it is sad.

McDonagh brilliantly lessens the tension that each climactic scene provides with genuinely funny dialogue and situations as incredible as they are inevitable. The casting is brilliant—how could it not be when it features Colin Farrell and what seems like half of the supporting cast of the Harry Potter series. Farrell seems legitimately comfortable with the role (possibly because, for once, he gets to just be Irish), and Gleeson is the perfect sympathetic hero (or bad guy, or hitman, or whatever you want to call it—he’s plays it perfectly). Ralph Fiennes may not be as sinister as “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named,” but he suits the role well and looks much better with a nose.

Overall, In Bruges is an admirable film debut for McDonagh that provides plenty of laughs, a surprising amount of emotional range, and enough action to still classify it as a “thriller.”

And if you have trouble with understanding accents, I suggest winning the script and using it as a sort of follow along, because it can be somewhat easy to lose what they’re saying.

Or, I suppose you could just turn on the subtitles…


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In Bruges Comment Sweepstakes: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.  A purchase does not improve your chances of winning.  Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 years or older as of the date of entry.  To enter, complete the “Post a Comment” entry at beginning at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) January 11, 2016. Sweepstakes ends 1:59 p.m. ET January 20, 2016. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.


Adam Wagner is an editor and writer for Criminal Element. Originally from Jacksonville, FL, Adam now lives in NYC where his hobbies include writing and performing stand-up and sketch comedy. Follow him on Twitter @shagner904


  1. Steven Levy

    This has been one of my favorite “unknown” films for years. It’s absolutely wonderful, and totally surprising. (And foul-mouthed, as one of the wonderful DVD extras demonstrates with a compilation of every bad word in the movie.)

  2. Joyce Benzing


  3. Patrick Murphy

    Great movie!!

  4. stems25

    I have spent a weekend in Bruge and absolutely fell in love with the city. I would love to win the script and also see the movie and relive that wonderful time.

  5. Patty

    I have spent a weekend in Bruge and absolutely fell in love with the city. I would love to win the script and also see the movie and relive that wonderful time.

  6. Louis Burklow

    The only complaint I had about this movie when I first saw it was that Ray should shut up about Bruges; otherwise I thought it was great. I’d love to read the script for it.

  7. Beth Talmage

    I would dearly love to win a copy of the script; it is one of my partner’s favorite movies. Because of it, we have gone on to watch Brendon Gleason in “Calvary” and “The Guard”. I have to say, I like The Guard the most, because both “Calvary” and “In Bruges” leave me too upset. I’m rather surprised to read that “In Bruges” is a dark comedy–I find it so tragic!

    One thing it did, though, was convince us of the beauty of that city.

  8. Marissa Culp

    I just signed up with Netflix so I’m looking forward to watching it this weekend. Sounds intriguing…

  9. MARY Mclain

    It would like to read the script. I have never read a script before, and this sounds so interesting that I think I would enjoy reading it

  10. vicki wurgler

    thanks winning a script would be fun

  11. Deb Mosora

    In Bruges is one of my favorite films. Would love to visit the city one day. I would also love to win a copy of the script!

Comments are closed.