After assassins Ray and Ken screw up an important assignment in London, their evil boss Harry orders them to go to Bruges and keep their heads down. Once in the old Belgian town, Ray has nothing to do but flirt with a local hottie while Ken enjoys life and an unexpected vacation. Nothing seems to portend trouble in the quiet town…
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Someone wise said that there is no point in traveling, because you drag yourself everywhere with you anyway. That’s probably true. But if you believe the movie, when you arrive in the small Belgian Bruges on a cold autumn day you can almost meet yourself for the first time. Another thing is that this meeting may turn out to be from the category of unpleasant, especially considering the specificity of the main character’s profession…
The film makes a strange impression from the very start – the witty dialogues that would make Tarantino bite his elbows with envy and a special contemplative atmosphere with a pinching piano music tempo. You want to cry and laugh at the same time – the mood is just like a fairy-tale, surreal Bruges with its museums, a midget on amphetamines, Amsterdam prostitutes, a family of fat American tourists, a beautiful girl drug dealer with a heart of gold and other colorful characters. But nevertheless, the mood of the main character (Farrell) is such that you want to put a bullet in your temple. After all, the autumn weather, gloomy cathedrals, the ghosts of history lurking in the cold, dark canals, the sidewalk, the wind, the falling leaves and Bosch’s “Last Judgment” seen in a museum contribute greatly to the judgment of his own sick conscience. And it seems to go on like this until the very end of the film, but the meditative rhythm begins to break down. Gradually, at first with disturbing phone calls from Boss, a man named Harry, speaking in a snaky voice whose intonation becomes more and more gestural from call to call and whose decisions are uncompromising, and then with the appearance of Harry himself. And that’s when Purgatory begins to turn into Hell, and the film becomes a frenzied dans-macabre and grows to the scale of a classic Greek tragedy, with a properly cathartic ending and a marvelous final twist.
In any Greek tragedy, when a situation fits the definition of “unsolvable,” the playwright introduces an additional character, the so-called “god from the machine. Here, too, when Farrell’s character reaches the end of his mental torment, there are two such gods, and they figure out who is cooler – the Old and New Testament, the lawyer and the prosecutor, Ken (Glisson) and Harry (Fiennes), two differently directed vectors, two morals. How will this question be resolved – should the principle of “an eye for an eye” be observed, should a man pay an equal price for his sins? After all, there are things that cannot be forgiven! If you have acted against the principles, if you have shed innocent blood, then be gracious and put your head in return. And look from another bell tower – and maybe forget it, this justice? We’re all human beings, after all, and everyone can make a mistake. You can’t bring anyone back anyway, and you have to be above it all, always give one last chance. Yes, you must be able to forgive, both yourself and the other. Even though, they say, our “boy” is a murderer, fights with the ladies, snorts cocaine and swears, and even all the beauty that surrounds him, just think, does not appreciate! But believe me, he’s a good guy, he’ll get better, he’s got an immortal soul that hurts right now, he hasn’t lost the ability to love yet, he can still turn around. So maybe after everything he will repent, be reborn as a human being, and it will be this little town that will be the reference point of his new life?
That is the question of a single life, not sparing his own, and will solve Ken and Harry, in a small Belgian town, in the film turned for one night in the living embodiment of the “Last Judgment”, and literally, as in the picture seen by the hapless killer the day before. So will he be given a chance or not?
The film is the question and the answer is the viewer’s decision. Who will see what when they put this puzzle of irony, banter, absurdity, action, politically incorrect black humor, cruelty, melancholy and existential questions together, I don’t know. It’s just good, even from a purely technical point of view – the acting, especially surprised Pharrell, who I had never before considered such a strong performer (Fiennes’ talent is something to be taken for granted), the characters you can sympathize and empathize with, the excellent camerawork and laughter through the tears. I’m even sure that you can see “To Bottom in Bruges” from one angle or another – because the film is great, there are many components, each of which can be appreciated on its own. But in general, the movie does not show the world and the characters as good or bad, it will not think for you and moralize, because the border between good and evil goes through each individual heart, and if it happens to be touched even a little bit while watching it, I think that the makers have not gone wrong. I don’t know to whom his message is addressed, or even how he specifically sounds, but I think on some universal level everyone will find some common ground with him. It’s just that here it is, a certain place where all truths and small truths intersect. And someone comes there to see it and die, to find something that is lacking in everyday life, to prove the truth of his life principles, to pay the bills, take something away with him as a souvenir, to laugh at the absurdity of a world that is foreign to you, and just to admire its cold beauty. In short, no matter what they say, there is still a point in traveling, even if it is only an excursion inside your own self while watching a movie.
Codec: HEVC / H.265 (85.0 Mb/s)
Resolution: Upscaled 4K (2160p)
HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10
Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
English: Dolby Digital 5.1
English, English SDH.