Sunday, February 28

In Bruges

Few months back, we (as in college friends) got together to see a movie called PK. The first ever scene that we saw (definitely not the first scene of the movie) was a fish-lips Anushka Sharma travelling by a bike in Bruges. From that time on we got hooked and started talking only about the movie "In Bruges". In case if you haven't seen it, It is highly recommended.

For all you Harry Potter fans, this must be a treat - 3 of the main characters in this movie are minor characters from the HP franchise. Never having been a fan of the wizardry of a bespectacled adolescent and his friends, I almost always despised every character in the HP movies. Especially Snape. To me Alan Rickman will always be the baddy from "Die Hard". Yippekaye ... Ok let's stop at that.

But In Bruges proved how many brilliant actors were wasted as campy caricatures in Hogwarts-land. One of the main characters Ken is played by Brendan Gleeson - an Irish actor who I had no idea about before I saw him as a deranged prof in Harry Potter. Another character is also played by an Irish actor who single handedly ruined the portrayal of Greek hero Alexander - yes Colin Farrel. In "In Bruges" however these guys are, for lack of the better word, simply awesome.

The story is straightforward - these two guys are professional killers working for a gangster Harry (Ray Fiennes at his cockney best) who, after a mishap in the last job, end up in Bruges to escape from investigation. With a plot that is sure enough to warrant it's own fair share of emotionally manipulative cliches, it distinguishes itself with its unpretentious and timely black humor predominantly established as a contradistinction with American sensibilities. Like telling Obese Americans they can't climb up the bell tower because they're, in actual words from the movie, "bunch of elephants". This seems very offensive to the Americans whereas it's a normal passing comment to the Irish. The writer (Martin McDonagh) is also Irish BTW.

The thing that stands out apart from the humor and the acting is the background score. You are looking at the beautiful scenic pan shots of Bruges accompanied by a solo piano caressed by fingers playing standard harmonic chord arpeggios and you feel as though you are an apparition floating on top of the river soaking in every modicum of the enchanting splendor that surrounds you . Too much?? Probably ... But "I loved it" is what I wanted to say. The avant-garde ideology of "less is more" is cleverly used in BGM and this is what carries the movie forward for almost an hour and then it shifts gears only to come back up again at the last moment.

In Bruges is wrongly marketed as "Black Comedy" which is not true. Many of my friends saw this as "Black comedy" and they didn't like it. Their expectation was along the lines of "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" so you can't blame them. In Bruges is literally a beautiful movie. Everything associated with the movie is beautiful. Comedy, love, sorrow and even the violence has an inherent aspect of beauty to it. Bruges here is represented as an allegorical purgatory where the characters come to look back at their life and move on to the supposed after life. It is the enticing beauty of this purgatory that we get to see right from the first scene accompanied by the sounds emanating from the piano of Carter Burwell. Beauty. It's not just that piano instrumental alone however. In one of the suicidal moments in the movie, where a character prepares himself to fall off from the bell tower, the image and the camera shows a picturesque view of Bruges from the top accompanied by "On the ragland road" an Irish folk song. If that's not beauty then I do not know what is.