If I had to categorize “In Bruges”, I’d go with Thriller/Travelogue, which is not a very crowded field. It’s the story of two career hit men who go on a little vacation, ostensibly to lay low after a recent crime spree. But as you might guess, there’s more to this trip than meets the eye.
I call it part travelogue, because this movie does a wonderful job transporting the audience to the real city of Bruges, a beautiful and amazingly well preserved medieval city (pictured above). Situated on a series of canals in northwest Belgium, it’s sometimes called “Venice of the North”. Visiting Bruges feels a bit like going back in time.
To these picturesque surroundings, the filmmaker has added a large dose of Hitchcock style suspense, some Tarentino style violence, a few darkly comic moments and some first rate acting.
The film is far from perfect – character development, frequently a weakness in the thriller genre, could be better. There are several strained plot elements that really should have been cut from the script. And I found the climax convoluted and disappointing.
Nevertheless, despite the unsatisfying ending and other flaws, I thoroughly enjoyed the ride. Even if you don’t love this movie, when it’s over you’ll feel like you just got back from Bruges, which is not a bad place to spend a couple hours.
Here’s the Rotten Tomatoes page, where “In Bruges” currently enjoys an 80% score.