In Bruges 

After falling in love with Boise Contemporary Theater's staging of The Pillowman, when I saw the play's writer had not only written but directed a new film, I jumped at the opportunity to watch it. I only hoped the movie would have as much intrigue and gritty dialogue. Let me tell you: it does.

Contract killers Ken (Brendan Gleeson, Gangs of New York) and Ray (Colin Farrell, Miami Vice) are unexpectedly ordered to Bruges (pronounced "Broozh"), Belgium, to await further instructions. While there, Ken soaks up the storybook village's history and Ray sulks and curses the town ... until the boss calls in a job that neither man agrees with.

Writer/director Martin McDonagh crafts dark dialogue as well as anyone. And much like he did in The Pillowman, a story about gory fairy tales and censorship in a totalitarian state, he takes on another twisted topic like contract killing—and somehow manages to humanize both the material and the characters.

The plot is slow for about three-quarters of the near two-hour run time, but the human interactions are fascinating and there's a frenetic-yet-somehow-funny ending that ought not to be missed.

In the late '90s, Quentin Tarantino pictures were trendy choices, but Brit master McDonagh may supplant some of the darkness and wit the Pulp Fiction director is known for.

In Bruges has some seriously harsh language and bloody violence, but each supports the story instead of becoming it. Give him a chance and McDonagh may yet become one of your favorite writer/directors.

This video courtesy of Hollywood Video, 590 Broadway Ave., 208-342-6117.

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