I've never been much of a Colin Farrel fan. About eight years ago, he was touted as the next great movie star, then went on to appear in a bunch of completely underwhelming films, like The Recruit, Phone Booth and Daredevil. I did love the film The New World, but that had a thousand times more to do with the genius filmmaking of Terrance Malick, than Ferrel's role as Captain Smith. He simply did his quiet, brooding machismo thing, and Malick did the rest. That all changes with In Bruges.
In the role of Ray, a first time hitman who's hiding out In Bruges, with his partner Ken, a well-seasoned assassin, Ferrel finally lives up to some of that long stale hype. He actually does some acting, and some damn fine acting it is. He's charismatic, he's funny, he's melancholy, all at once. Writer/director Martin McDonagh, manages to create an actual arch for his character Ray. Among the Ferrel films I've seen, this is the first full fledged person he's portrayed.
The rest of the film is pretty wonderful as well. We've all seen the remorseful hitman thing a hundred times, but here it feels fresh, done from a perspective that we haven't seen before. The film is at the same time, wonderfully surreal, hilariously droll, and somewhat heartwarming. Ray and Ken are In Bruges, because something went horribly wrong with Ray's first hit. They think they're hiding out till things cool down, but their boss Harry Waters, played deliciously evil by Ralph Fienes, wants Ray out-of-the-picture completely. Ken is emotionally tore up by these turn of events.
The film is really nicely made. They shoot Bruges, a Belgian city stuck in Medieval times, beautifully; it provides an incredible backdrop. It's always nice to explore a new place through the magic of cinema, and I didn't know a thing about the city before this film. The acting is top-notch all around. The script is wonderfully witty, without throwing it in your face, it moves easily from surreal scenes with a drugged-out-horny-midget, to a touching scene between two friends, to a high tension gun fight. Everything about it works. - Grade: B+