In Bruges — Movie Review by Bayard & Holmes

By Piper Bayard & Jay Holmes

In Bruges was released in 2008, but it’s a favorite of mine and Holmes’ so we thought we’d share it with you. In Bruges is a drama about two hit men, Ray and Ken, who are sent to cool their heels in Bruges for a couple of weeks after a job goes a bit wrong. Here’s our take on this hysterical dark comedic drama. . . .


There’s a saying. Great characters make great stories. I have no idea who said it. Maybe I did. Nevertheless, it’s true, and In Bruges has great characters. Having spent my life around, shall we say, personalities, I found the characters in this movie to be exceedingly real and 3D. In fact, even the most minor characters, right down to the innkeeper, are deep and interesting.

The main character is a whiney young hit man with a conscience, Ray, played brilliantly by Colin Farrell. Then there are his mentor, Ken (Brendan Gleeson), who loves culture and is devoted to his dead wife to a fault, a superficially classy, but loyal, cocaine dealer love interest (Clemence Poesy), and an opinionated, racist dwarf (Jordan Prentice). Stir that up with the Belgian arms dealer boss (Ralph Fiennes) who operates from his parlor and would die for his principles, and you’d have to be blind, deaf, drunk, stoned and stupid to not get a story out of it.

As in every great story, questions arise because of these characters. Are there folks who need a good killing? Whose life is worth dying to save? When is a debt paid, and what coin is too high to pay it? And the most near and dear to my heart, is there redemption for the worst of us, and what does that even mean? In Bruges wraps these deepest of questions in humor as dark and satisfying as bittersweet chocolate.

My favorite quote is from Ray. “Prison… death… didn’t matter. Because at least in prison and at least in death, you know, I wouldn’t be in &#%in’ Bruges.”

This movie is rated “R” for good reasons. Sex, drug use, violence, and language that would curl the hair on a sailor’s toes. In fact, if you enjoy sitting through this movie with your young people, please seek out professional help immediately.

A hit man, a coke dealer, and a dwarf go into this bar . . .


I saw this movie in the company of three picky movie goers. All four of us felt that it was well worth the time and cost to see it. This movie is a dark comedy that relies more on creativity and a great script than on raw “darkness” to achieve its mood. It’s almost inaccurate to list this movie as a dark comedy; it’s a movie that stands nearly alone as “type” goes. Writer/director Martin McDonagh did not bother staying within the normal boundaries or using traditional, standard elements to create a great story. I’m glad he didn’t.
The production quality was excellent. The camera work and lighting were brilliant. The director and crew did a great job of taking advantage of the ambiance of Bruges, and the acting was outstanding all the way around. The movie is a bit on the raw side, so you might not want to bring your grandmother or children under the age of fifteen to see it. If the close up violence, the brief sex, and the generous cursing don’t disturb you, then you will likely enjoy this movie.
Ken and Ray. What to do in Bruges?
In Bruges is full of interesting and/or funny characters. One of the best scenes involved a snotty ticket vendor. Anyone who has played tourist has met this fellow in one form or another and will likely enjoy the outcome of the scene. It’s an outcome you may have contemplated a few times, yourself.
We both loved this movie and have no reservations in assigning it our top rating, a “.44 Mag,” which means we call it a Must See. If you can handle the sex/violence/language aspects, that is. (Click here for our movie rating system.) We rarely watch the same movie twice, but we will both definitely see this movie again.
Have you seen In Bruges? What did you think of it? Are there any other movies you’d like to have reviewed by a spook and a belly dancer?
All the best to all of you for an experience in Bruges.

18 comments on “In Bruges — Movie Review by Bayard & Holmes

  1. Love this movie and it is one of my 19 year old son’s top 5 movies of all time. He references it like every other day. lol And he’s a picky, snobby NYU student, so it must be good. lol

  2. This sound really good – gotta love that “…not in Bruges’ line.
    Will look for this one, thanks

  3. Thanks, Piper and Holmes! Hadn’t heard of this one, but these days I’m always looking for films that simply won’t irritate me–this looks like a prime candidate!

    • Piper Bayard says:

      LOL. I know what you mean. I spend half an hour picking out something on Netflix, and I just as often watch nothing. Currently watching Foley’s War, and it’s quite good. But “not irritating” is a harder standard to meet all of the time. 🙂

  4. Hi Piper and Holmes,

    This is the second blog post of yours that WordPress would not allow me to post a comment. It let me “Like” the post, but would not take my comment no matter how many times I tried. Weird.

    Thought I should let you know since this is turning into an ongoing issue.

    Great post, by the way!



    • Piper Bayard says:

      Thank you so much for letting us know! And thank you even more for not giving up. We will be moving to our Bayard & Holmes web site soon and should no longer have any such problems. 🙂

  5. Wow guys great review, I love Colin Farrell.

    Note to Elizabeth- I have been having trouble posting comments on any blogger posts or anything that requires me to authenticate by reading the letters and numbers.

  6. tomwisk says:

    In Bruges shows up on HBO every now and again. I have caught pieces of it because TV for me is background noise. Next time it comes around I’ll watch.

  7. Ha, I wanted to see it when the trailers came out. My daughter was 6. I still haven’t seen it. But I like dark comedy when it’s done well, so I’ll put this back on the list (which doesn’t actually exist physically, so tends to difficult to follow).


  8. Hi, your post is spot-on. I found the film hilarious, especially given its kind-of-gruesome subject matter. Good review.

  9. Lena Corazon says:

    Oooh, I’m so glad to hear that you both liked this movie! It’s been in my Netflix queue for a while (that is, if Netflix hasn’t removed it from streaming when I wasn’t looking), so I’ll have to check it out. What a great cast of actors!

  10. Saw the movie on DVD a while back. Loved it – amazing movie, fantastic cast, fantastic script & a total on-location shoot which brought the town back for me – my wife and I’ve been to Brugge and it’s just a fantastic place. Exactly like it is in the movie, actually…

    I have a story about that visit. The tower Gleeson’s character [er — spoiler, but you know what happened] holds a carillion. When we were there it kept crashing out mutant versions of Beethoven’s greatest hits via a pianola system, all in non-tempered tuning. My wife forbad me from investigating whether I could get permission to play it live (apparently possible). Because she knew I’d use to play ‘Louie Louie’. I am not joking, I tried the same ploy on a 200-year old grand in the Port Arthur commandant’s house in 1998. I figure that the more antique and impressive the instrument, the better it is served by Mr Berry’s frothy little ditty, and I am the one to bring the two together.. Everybody else on the planet disagrees (especially my wife), but hey.. And the sad part about the Brugge carillion idea was that we were already planning to leave town….

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