It’s always magical to watch an under-utilised actor finally deliver in a breakout role. So it was for Colin Farrell, who had spent the best part of a decade far better known for his personal life than for the quality of his work, before opening a glorious new chapter of his career with Martin McDonagh’s black comedy In Bruges.
Released in 2008, In Bruges stars Farrell as Ray, a hitman who flees to the titular Belgian city to hide out after a job goes horribly wrong. Haunted by guilt and feeling confined by his picturesque but dull surroundings, he quickly begins to spin out in ways that are equal parts hilarious and tragic.
Farrell is joined by another performer experiencing a career high in the movie – Brendan Gleeson. A reliable character actor for decades, Gleeson enjoys a rare co-lead here as Ken, an older and more experienced assassin who finds himself forced to babysit Ray while the two are holed up together in a small B&B.
For the first hour the film is essentially a two-hander for the pair, with their odd-couple dynamic providing the key to the movie’s humour, but also to its considerable heart and soul. Ralph Fiennes also makes a very fun appearance in the final act, sporting a Danny Dyer-esque accent as a London gang leader.
In this week’s podcast, we break down our full reactions to this movie – including Harry’s personal experiences of backpacking in Bruges, the very real dangers of shooting with blanks, the line-readings that cracked us up the most and much more. We also brainstorm some drinking games, check in with our listeners for their reactions and attempt to pitch some viable sequel ideas!
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Next week, we’re continuing our Festive-ish mini-season and doing double duty with another Colin Farrell vehicle… though not one that’s quite so well regarded. Until then, happy listening and remember – narrow Belgian staircases are no friend to the husky gentleman.