Review Alert – In Bruges

Directed by Martin McDonagh

Written by Martin McDonagh

Produced by Graham Broadbent, Julia Blackman, Jeff Abberley, Peter Czernin.

Production Companies: Blueprint Pictures, Focus Features, Scion Films.

UK Release Date: 18th April 2008

Review may contain spoilers.

After a countless dosage of the Irish accent, forging comedy and sidesplitting action, Martin McDonagh sheds prosperous delight in his striking debut feature.

After a strand of success writing for theatre (The Pillowman, The Lieutenant of Inishmore), McDonagh forces his revitalizing narratives onto the big screen. Plucking up conundrums similar to the likes of Quentin Tarantino, Guy Richie and Paul Thomas Anderson (to name a few), McDonagh fits perfectly into the aesthetic genre features of playful violence, imprudent yet flawless characterization and somewhat unrewarding narratives. Like Tarantino’s debut Reservoir Dogs, In Bruges electrifies, shocks and disturbs the viewer all at the same time. The dialogue is witty; it’s enthralled with references to society and popular culture giving the characters an essence of purism, and what’s more… everyone simply dies.

Admitted, there are scenes so frivolous that one would question a character’s ability to remain so fruitful in such a situation (the scene between Ray (Colin Farrell) and Harry (Ralph Fiennes) discussing their shootout terms on the stairs of the hotel). But McDonagh endeavors this bridge by keeping his characterization strong and nurtured throughout so that the audience won’t for one minute doubt their capabilities of realism; a Tarantino quality indeed.

Writing from a time when McDonagh’s second feature Seven Psychopaths has already hit the big screens and been received well on most accounts, it is evident that his style is evermore present; taking dives into narrative experimentation and the gangster genre as a whole is not beyond the exuberant boundaries of McDonagh. Similarly his earlier short film, Six Shooter, is enlightening to anyone looking for a tremor but at the same time a somewhat cynical laugh aloud.

I certainly gained a lot photographic knowledge of In Bruges watching this film. The emblematic sightseeing European town is largely symbolic to the film as an entirety. It represents the primary meaning of the plot taking place and stages a great location for cinematographic luxury (indeed taken advantage of by cinematographer Eigil Bryld) as well as being figurative to the solitude of the characters and an abundant subject matter for much of their controversy.

All in all, McDonagh grounds himself as a salient new screenwriter/director – an auteur at that – who will be admired for his originality and palpable flare. Let’s hope he can keep up the good work and gain the contemporary fame in modern cinema he so rightly deserves.


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