In Bruges (2008)
The film held my attention closely throughout; I found it intriguing, compelling and very amusing in spite of the violent thuggery. The two gunmen sent to Bruges at the expense of their boss following the completion of an assignment was puzzling, but during those few days of sightseeing in the city the personal relationship between them became apparent; loosely that of a father and son with the same kind of warmth and irritation. It was therefore unsurprising that when the older man was instructed to kill his companion, he couldn't do it despite the inevitable all-encompassing consequences. Set at Christmas time with brightness and bustle only in the shopping areas, the city was filmed in the grey of winter in keeping with the bleak story. The sub plot involved a film being shot in Bruges at the same time and very cleverly this tied up in the final scenes with the Hieronymus Bosch paintings of hell and damnation from the sightseeing earlier. The acting was superlative and Ralph Fiennes was completely convincing as the psychopathic boss.
The short films we saw before the interval were very pertinent to the main feature. A tourist film of Bruges in the bright sunshine of summer displayed a very different aspect of the beauties of the city. This was followed by a report on gun and knife crime here in the U.K. An interesting glimpse of prison life came next by the American Insight Garden Program. It showed prisoners working in the prison garden which they appeared to find mindful, relaxing and soothing. One prisoner said "We g'n be O.K". In contrast to that we saw, finally, Johnny Cash singing his famous song about St. Quentin prison "....... I hate every inch of you."
The nine of us discussing the evening's viewing had enjoyed the shorts although, despite the vibrant flowers flourishing in the prison garden, we had all been very aware of the high enclosing metal fences around them. There was much enthusiasm for In Bruges and one of our number made the valid observation that the city played another character in the film, and one person said she had been put off visiting Bruges as a consequence. Somebody else thought there was a similarity to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Much praise was given to the quality of the filming and to the accompanying music.