The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Universal - 2008
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 107 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes, Clemence Poesy, Jeremie Renier
Written & Directed by: Martin McDonagh
Music by: Carter Burwell
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: July 13, 2010
"Shoot first. Sightsee later"
Colin Farrell and Academy Award-nominee Ralph Fiennes star in this edgy, action-packed comedy, filled with thrilling chases, spectacular shoot outs and an explosive ending you won't want to miss! Hit men Ray (Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson, Harry Potter) have been ordered to cool their heels in the storybook city of Bruges (it's in Belgium) after finishing a big job. But since hit men make the worst tourists, they soon find themselves in a life-and-death struggle of comic proportions against one very angry crime boss (Fiennes)!
In Bruges is a character driven film that is cleverly scripted and engages by carefully drawing us in with its blend of morose yet scintillatingly funny situations that are counterbalanced by a sheer sense of dread about the events that have yet to pass. Initially the story has sort of a buddy flick feel as it takes its time introducing us to Ray and Ken. They are hit men that have been sent to Bruges by their boss Harry to cool their heals after completion of their latest job in London. Ray is definitely an unhappy camper and feels that Bruges is old, boring and beneath him. Ken sees Bruges differently and appreciates its history, beauty and looks forward to blending in while taking in the sights. Neither of them is certain why they are in Bruges but their orders are to relax, lay low and wait to hear from Harry. Early on there are hints that something of emotional significance has affected Ray but the details aren't revealed until later which subsequently makes their reason for going to Bruges evident. The fact is that by then we are invested in them and can sympathize with how they arrived at this point regardless of the events that transpired prior. I think what makes In Bruges work so well is the establishment of the relationship between Ken and Ray. It is important that they be likeable even though it is clear that they aren't necessarily good guys. Watching as they interact not only with each other but those around them is where the film's strength lies. When Harry enters the fold later it adds another element that enriches an already blended formula that consists of dark humor, and subtle/overt situations that are designed to imbue a sense of levity in order to subvert the existential dread that looms throughout.
This is my first experience with In Bruges but I had heard positive things about it from others that have seen it. I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed it and reveled in its seemingly inane situations and sharp, witty dialogue that left few stones unturned. For a gangster type film there is little call for suspense/action but it is used evocatively and has a visceral/graphic edge that serves a purpose. The anti-climactic ending left me wanting a little but seemed befitting. I thought that Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell were simply marvelous and deserving of the praise received for their performances. Ralph Fiennes had much less screen time but made the most of every moment. His comedic timing was spot on and responsible for one of the movie's funniest scenes. Clemence Poesy, Jordan Prentice and Jeremie Renier in the supporting roles of Chloe, Jimmy, and Eirik were quite good as well with honorable mention going to the very attractive Thekla Reuten (Marie the hotel owner). Writer/Director Martin McDonagh presents us with an intriguing mix of funny situations and crass dialogue blended with a conceptually strong narrative built around two wonderfully drawn and portrayed characters in Ray and Ken. Add the backdrop of the beautiful city of Bruges to that equation and the result is a thoroughly entertaining and poignant comedy/thriller that has just been added to my list of favorite films.
The rating is for strong bloody violence, pervasive language and some drug use.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
In Bruges comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal HE featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 29 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.7 Mbps.
This is a great looking catalog title from Universal that has a clean, polished look that falls just shy of the definitive delineation offered by the best high definition available on Blu-ray Disc. Images onscreen exhibit plenty of fine rendering and crisp definition that on occasion rises to higher levels especially during close ups which can be very revealing. Long range shots appear resolute with good dimensional depth and notable object detail. The beautiful geographic locations and vista views of Bruges look magnificent in high definition. Bright exterior segments are punchy with crisp dynamic whites and appreciable texture. Colors aren't overly engaging as the palette is limited to sepia tones and drab secondary hues that don't offer much to catch the eye. Rendering is excellent though and the balance is kept in proper focus which mates well with the films overall visual perspective. Fleshtones are tonally divergent and appear lifelike in depiction. Blacks are respectable for the most part but appear a bit inconsistent as depth can be scene dependent. Shadow detail is quite good and reveals plenty of visible delineation in dark backgrounds and low lighting. I didn't detect any deleterious artifacts or other video related anomalies.
The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio mix handles this predominantly front oriented soundtrack with uncompromising competence. While the bulk of the audio is reproduced by the front three channels the surrounds are used effectively to produce a rear sound field rich in immersive ambience. This isn't what I consider to be an aggressive soundtrack as dialogue and music play more of a role than the action based elements. When things escalate this mix has no trouble flexing its dynamic muscle with bass response/impact that augments the tangibility of small arms fire. Clarity and detail are exemplary which reveal lots of subtle nuance in the recording. Vocal reproduction is crystalline with discernible intonation and descriptive character. Carter Burwell's beautifully crafted music sounds smooth and airy with a deep room filling quality that is engaging.
- 18 deleted scenes, 2 extended scenes
- Gag reel - 6 minutes
- A boat trip around Bruges - Scenic views of Bruges set to text based facts about the city (5 minutes)
- D-Box Motion Code enabled
- BD-Live enabled
In Bruges comes from the mind of writer/director Martin McDonagh and features an intriguing mix of funny situations and crass dialogue infused with a conceptually strong narrative built around two wonderfully drawn characters that are deftly portrayed by Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. Shot against the beautiful and historic City of Bruges Belgium this films makes for a thoroughly entertaining and poignant comedy/thriller that has just been added to my list of favorite films. It makes its debut on Blu-ray Disc from Universal Home Entertainment featuring excellent high definition video, crystal clear lossless DTS-HD Master Audio sound, and a rather light compliment of bonus features that will leave fans wanting. Regardless this offering is worthy of serious consideration and has found a home in my Blu-ray library.
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