In Bruges is not your typical hitman movie – especially since there is no gunfight until the end.
Ray (Colin Farrell) is sent to Bruges after committing a fatal error on a job; Ken (Brendan Gleeson) is sent to keep him out of trouble. Bruges is the most preserved medieval city in Belgium so Ken attempts to fill their time with sightseeing; Ray's good times involve insulting Americans, punching Canadians and copious amounts of drugs and alcohol. Throw in a little person (Jordan Prentice), a Dutch prostitute (Clémence Poésy) and a Bosch-esque film set and you have a bizarre hideaway. When word does finally come from the boss (Ralph Fiennes), the pair is lurched into a life-and-death struggle with climactic results.
The film almost doubles as a travelogue with Ken struggling to peek Ray's interest by reciting historical facts. Ray is coarse and unpredictable, which Farrell does naturally well; however, he also has moments of sincere vulnerability and remorse, which Farrell does well enough. Conversely, Ken is a fatherly figure, watching over Ray; Gleeson appears to genuinely exude his character’s qualities, portraying the part flawlessly. Finally, as the boss, Fiennes delivers on all fronts – his narrated letter is particularly intimidating.
The deleted scenes are unmissed for the most part, focusing mainly on Ray’s mistake and giving Farrell opportunity to show his softer side; on the other hand, there is an uneasy scene with a child that does not seem to fit anywhere in the narrative. There is a “making of” feature packed with cast interviews and another dedicated to filming in the “strange” city. The virtual boat trip around the city is interesting as it also provides historical facts related to passing objects.