In Bruges (2008)

Martin McDonagh’s In Bruges is a brilliantly constructed and incredibly fun film. At times it is thrilling, at times dramatic, but overall this is superb comedy.

The film stars Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson and Ralph Fiennes in fantastic and brilliantly acted roles. Finally a film has come along where we can see the true acting capacity of Farrell – maybe because he’s finally played Irish rather than American. In any case, we have been won over.

Director Martin McDonagh is considered one of the most important living Irish playwrights. He won an Oscar in 2006 for his short film, Six Shooter, also starring Gleeson. With his feature debut, In Bruges, McDonagh has made a highly impressive film.

The term hilarious is stamped on the fronts of thousands of theatrical posters and DVD covers; seldom is the statement anything more than a gross exaggeration. But in this case, it ain’t no lie.

Wonderful Cinema strongly recommends you do not ruin the impact the director meticulously planned for you by watching trailers or reading spoilers. For those of you who cannot resist:

You can find more information on this American movie on Wikipedia and IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes.

Production Details

Title: In Bruges

Director: Martin McDonagh

Year, Country, Language:  2008, Britain, English

Stars: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes (click here for full cast)

Screenplay: Martin McDonagh

Cinematography: Eigil Bryld

Editing: Jon Gregory

Score: Carter Burwell


  1. In Bruges is a quality film, and as someone who has visited Bruges no less than 8 times in the last 8 years I can identify with the quirky Belgian characters and locations. Martin McDonagh has crafted a tight story with excellent performances throughout. And if you like In Bruges, you need to see The Guard, which was written and directed by John Michael McDonagh (Martin’s brother), and also stars Brendan Gleeson in an unforgettable role as the title character.

  2. Agree with philthyanimal – and I’ve been there a lot too! Similarly worth seeing is Intermission (2003) with Farrell but set in Dublin with quirky Irish people 🙂

  3. I was suprised how good it was as don’t generally associate Farrell with clever and witty. But I loved this! The Guard is also definitely worth a watch

  4. I love it when people speak highly of this movie. It’s such a great film and the cranky interaction between Gleeson and Farrell was marvelously executed. Very cool stuff you have here, Shimky!

    Anti-Film School

  5. Great dark comedy, very witty and something of a big pull for tourists to Bruges. Apparently the local tourist chiefs were upset when they saw the final cut, given that some of the characters continually knock the ancient city, but then loads of tourists came asking to see the places where it had been filmed, having first heard of Bruges from the film.

    Proof that (sometimes) there is no such thing as bad advertising.

  6. Wasn’t certain what I was getting when Netflix recommended this movie to me and I added it to the queue. Popped it in the player and was pleasantly surprised. Funny, edgy, action sequences, witty dialogue, and even a fair bit of decent acting. Enjoyed it so much I bought a copy so I copy watch it any time I feel like it, and that’s been more than once since.

  7. Going to see Seven Psychopaths tomorrow by the same director – should be good!

  8. I watched this movie some time ago, and I remember liking it a lot, and I have recommended it to several people, but funny? that I do not remember. I ‘ll just have to watch it again. as for ferrell, i liked him in London Boulevard. the movie was a bit of a disappointment, but I thought he did well in the movie. A good, creepy villain in that one as well.

  9. I saw this film 2 years ago and loved it (and especially as I was travelling to Brugge just after)!
    Had an amazing holiday, lots of chocolate truffles and waffles!

  10. I have to admit I didn’t get it. I love the town and saw the movie simply for that, but despite a few funny moments I didn’t enjoy it. Maybe I’m just not a Farrell fan. ;o)

  11. one of my favorite films of all time and it has inspired me to hopefully visit and photograph Bruges next year.

  12. “An Uzi? I’m not from South Central Los f***ing Angeles. I didn’t come here to shoot twenty black ten year olds in a drive-by. I want a normal gun for a normal person.” In Bruges is so wonderful. I never get tired of seeing it.

  13. I went to see this movie, fully expecting a comedy. I left the movie theater feeling severely shocked. Rarely have I seen a movie less like a comedy than this one.

    I have a lot of trouble understanding how this film could be marketed as a comedy. To me it felt more like a surrealist fim, with a slightly nightmarish, dark fairytalelike quality. Within that genre it might be a very good film, but by no means would I consider this a comedy. I kid you not when I say it took me several days to recover from the gloomy feeling the film left we with.

    1. This is a very interesting reaction to the film. You are not alone either. One other person so far has mentioned to us that they cannot see how this film can be classed as humour. I wonder if you need to be British to understand the Irish humour in this film? I don’t know. We and many other people find this film nothing short of hilarious. Is there someone among our readers who can give us some insight into why some people react so very differently to this material?

      Thanks for writing, Mr. Belgium. Very interesting!

  14. I am surprising to read that someone equated this to a fairy tale? I thought it was a wacky, dry humored and satirical movie that made me laugh but also was sad on another level. Unique dialogue and great actors pull it through to a good movie.

  15. More than hilarious it is able to be also poignant. Most films that try to be funny and dramatic fail on the latter. It’s able to make us care while making us laugh.

  16. I loved this movie! I was prepared not to like Colin Farrell – saw him in an interview and thought he was a bit jerk(y) – but I have now seen him in a few other movies and I do recognize his talent. Thanks for this blog, I’m enjoying it. And do come back to my space again for a visit real soon –

  17. When I view a film, I do not always consider the screenplay while watching. However, I think In Bruges, has a screenplay that made me notice. Throughout the film, I did say to myself, “this screenplay should be studied in film schools.” I love the film too.

  18. Another of my favorite films. This one picture all by itself practically defines the term, “Black Comedy.” The way In Bruges all ties together at the end is just brilliant.

  19. Definately one of my favourite films and I love it even more becasue I was due to travel around Europe after I watched so obviously I made time to head there. The tourist maps that you pick up in France even have some of the quotes in from the film…eg… The map I picked up from tourist information actually said “If you grew up on a farm, and was retarded, Bruges might impress you…”

  20. To me the movie was not at all a comedy!

    Being from Belgium myself, I know Bruges quite well and wanted to see how it was depicted. At first the city felt honored to be chosen for the movie…until everybody saw that the Belgians were not put into a very bright light. But I don’t see it that way, not at all! It’s not because a character in a movie hates Belgium that Belgium IS hate-able. It says more about the character than about the country. That’s not difficult to understand!
    I think the director has done something brilliant with the choice of location. And yes, believe me, Bruges is a wonderful place. And to say the least, it was very interesting how the city was shown…in a completely different way that we are used too…a fairytale-like place of picturesque canals.
    And sure, the movie drew even more tourists…although that was not necessary…

  21. One of my favorite films ever definitely. Great to see Farrell acting Irish instead of American. If you haven’t seen it yet you should see another McDonagh film, Seven Psychopaths. Maybe not as good as In Bruges but very entertaining.

  22. Love the dialogue in this movie.

    “If I were to murder a man I would murder him here. Are you sure this is the right word, alcoves?”

  23. La vi hace un tiempo y me gustó mucho, gracias por recordarla: volveré a verla!
    Por cierto, “7 psicópatas” es una película diferente, pero me gustó, para recomendar.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.