Black humour is a term coined by Surrealist theoretician André Breton in 1935, to designate a sub-genre of comedy and satire in which laughter arises from cynicism and skepticism, often about the topic of death.
Bruges is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is located in the northwest of the country and sometimes referred to as “The Venice of the North”.
In Bruges is a movie about two hit men holed up in Bruges who begin to differ on their views of life and death as they become used to local customs.
Martin McDonagh directed this pitch black comedy after he tried his hand at a short movie called ‘Six Shooter’ (equally black considering the humor). In Bruges begins with two London based Irish hit men arriving in Bruges to lay low after a job gone wrong. Ray (a rookie hit-man played by Colin Farrell) and Ken (a veteran played by Brendan Gleeson) go around sightseeing the medieval city while they await instructions from their principled Boss ‘Harry’ (Ralph Fiennes). Ken quite likes Bruges while Ray hates it completely although the reason for Ray’s despondent behavior is the death of an innocent boy whom he had accidentally killed while doing his first job. However Ray begins to overcome his gloom when he meets Chloe (Clémence Poésy), and while Ray is busy punching prim Canadians, thanks to Chloe’s smoking in a restaurant, Ken on the other end finally gets his orders he’s been awaiting from Harry. To his surprise the orders are to kill Ray on the principle that killing a child (even though accidentally) is unforgivable. Ken who has by now developed a liking in Ray is reluctant to do his job but then ‘you got to stick with your principles’. So when he arrives to kill Ray, he sees that Ray is about to commit suicide in order to overcome him guilt. What follows this is a roller-coaster ride through the cobblestone paths of Bruges, involving a dwarf as an important plot element, mocking fat Americans, shooting blanks, with Harry coming down to town, and with some real bang bang and blood, finally leading to a catastrophic climax.
Bruges is really beautiful and so well fitted in the plot that by the time the movie ends you must have done most of the sightseeing, but then don’t miss on the plot as ‘In Bruges’ is a tightly woven tale thanks to the well paced screenplay that eventually got nominated for an Oscar. Farrell and Gleeson are superb (I wasn’t a Colin Farrell fan until I saw this movie) and their conversations are as fascinating as that of Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield of Pulp Fiction. But the real star of In Bruges is Ralph Fiennes who with his foul mouth and a strong cockney accent plays one helluva villain. The dialogue is witty, crude and funny. The satire is classic and the characters are amusing yet so real that despite them being hit-men and gangsters, they’ll definitely gain your sympathy when blood is spilled. The cinematography is brilliant; especially with the medieval architecture in the background it sets the mood right.