Ax on 'Flix

In this week’s Netflix pick, Axel reviews the film “In Bruges”

By Axel Marcenaro
On September 13, 2019

Axel Marcenaro, editor-in-chief


“In Bruges” is the second film from writer/director Martin McDonagh. This dark comedy/crime drama was released in 2008 and re-added to Netflix in 2018. I noticed the film in the “late night comedies” category and was interested because it starred Colin Farrell. Farrell is an actor who I, for some reason, despised until my recent viewing of the 2015 film “The Lobster.” With my newfound faith in him as a performer, I dove in.

“In Bruges” is the story of two hitmen who, after a job gone wrong, are forced to hide out in a Belgian tourist city. One of them finds this experience repulsive, while the other finds it enchanting. Through their misadventures they learn about themselves, and each other, and are faced with their past.

Now, this quick summary does not do the film justice. The trailer is also incredibly misleading, as it is designed to appeal to a blockbuster comedy audience. The truth is, wrapped inside this bland plot outline and terrible preview is a brilliant piece of underrated filmmaking.

As each unexpected turn is related to the next, it would be wrong for me to reveal any of them. I will say that, as the story branches out, you never get bored with it. Regardless of your likely ability to predict the ending, you’ll enjoy how you get there.

This movie is also full of what I like to call “full circles.” This is a key element for me. It just means that there are many details, jokes or plot elements from the first half of the film that are referenced or completed in the second half. This movie maneuvers these fantastically. Everything, from dwarves to drugs, makes a comeback that you wouldn't expect.

The jokes are delivered via smart dialogue, but quickly followed by dark or shocking banter and information. It never fails to catch you off guard, and as long as you’re into some wicked humor, you’ll laugh at the unexpected route every seemingly simple joke veers off into.

Although there are clever visual jokes in the film, it can leave much to be desired aesthetically. The film is almost solely lit with soft, flat light, like many of the modern comedies which neglect the art of cinematography. It does have its interesting moments but is unlikely to impress if you’re someone who analyzes production.

Overall, this film is a great piece of dark comedy. I’m not going to call it one of the best, but I feel it deserves praise considering it received several bad or average reviews. I think most people aren’t comfortable with how vulgar, sad or awkward this genre can be. So, if you’re not easily offended and looking for an interesting film with some good laughs and bad attitudes, check it out. I bet you'll be surprised

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