In Bruges Martin McDonagh

In Bruges Martin McDonagh
If you’re familiar with Colin Farrell’s work, you’re still trying to shake those images of a moustachioed Miami cop with a mullet and a bad Southern accent. I don’t blame you. Yes, Colin stars. Yes, Colin has a history of sucking. Then again, even the best have their pasts. Look at Josh Brolin, or Jeremy Piven. With this in mind, the film rolls. Enter Farrell, his morose voiceover guiding us through a series of murky flashbacks in which his character "Ray” revisits some dirty secrets from his death dealing past.

After this we meet Ray’s friend "Ken” (Brendan Gleeson, in uncanny form). Both Dubliners answer to a schizoid boss named "Harry” (Ralph Fiennes, also stellar), kill people and a generous stipend usually follows. One day, news of a job gone askew reaches Harry. Cover half blown, Harry decides to hide the two fretful hit men in a Spam can-sized hotel room in beautiful Bruges, Belgium. Deliciously dark humour ensues.

Farrell isn’t sucking yet. On to director Martin McDonagh’s quaint little milieu of Bruges, which comes complete with dainty buildings, cobbled roads and cheery tourists. At night however, McDonagh manages to unmask all this cuteness with a dark, cryptic underbelly where dwarfs buy whores and gunfights decide moral mires. It’s a stylish contrast, and it works, if only in an abstract, Fellini kind of way.

The dialogue is smart and prickly (particularly the fuelled exchanges between Ray and Ken), the pacing is refreshingly offbeat and the action’s tastefully believable. It ends up feeling like you died and woke up in vintage Guy Ritchie heaven, only better. That said, the movie isn’t perfect, but it’s damn good. Here’s the Farrell verdict: feral, rough and a bit gnarled around the edges from age (and a crapulous career), he looks cool, comfortable and deathly convincing, practically invoking his character.

I call it the "Brad Pitt effect”: the transition from bad boy to grizzled veteran. Safe to say, Colin Farrell has finally pulled off that brilliant performance that can carry a picture. Note to all talented directors (I’m looking in your direction, Michael Mann): keep Colin Farrell Irish. You’ll get a better result. (Alliance)