Martin McDonagh, in his feature-film writing and directorial debut, puts his theatre background as a playwright to good use in In Bruges. The three main characters-Ray (Colin Farrell), Ken (Brendan Gleeson) and Harry (Ralph Fiennes)-are hit men engaged in a twisted morality battle. The gun-slinging violence, racist quips and absurd situations all add up to a dark comedy that is refreshingly unusual and equally entertaining.
Hit men Ray and Ken are sent to Bruges, Belgium by their manic superior, Harry, after a hit goes terribly wrong in London. While in the medieval city, Ray and Ken are forced into each other's company until they receive further orders from Harry.
Perhaps for the first time, Farrell is given a character that allows him to display a gamut of emotions. He infuses Ray with a cocky attitude; dancing eyebrows, a mile-a-minute potty-mouth, a perpetual scowl and a violent temper that gives him the appearance of a teenage boy on steroids. But he just as easily falls apart, and when he does, it's believable. Gleeson's soft-spoken demeanor and imposing figure make Ken a wonderfully subtle character, complementing Ray quite nicely. As the stalwart father figure of the duo, he drags along a pouting Ray on sightseeing trips with a map in hand and a tour guide's knowledge of his surroundings.
Their bickering is amusing, and it's clear that despite the fighting, they have an affinity for one another. As the film continues, we see through flashback an intense back story that gives us a better understanding of the baggage Ray and Ken carry. The incident we see, which the characters don't really discuss, is the same event that brings Ralph Fiennes' Harry into the picture. Although he doesn't join the duo until late in the film, his character raises the tempo with a crass take on the way things should be handled amongst hit men. Simultaneously spewing vulgarities and moral code, Harry is more explosively dangerous than the other two.
The flurry of bizarre minor characters augment In Bruges's absurdity. They include Jimmy the midget (Jordan Prentice), actress/drug dealer Chlo