Like Collin Farrell’s character didn’t want to be in Bruges, I wish I hadn’t watched “In Bruges” right before bed. It’s not a before bed movie. It’s good, but packs a wallop at the end especially if you’re tired. After a hitman accidentally kills a child, another hitman and he lay low at a bed and breakfast in Bruges. Collin’s character is going out of his mind with boredom and angst, not believing what he did. The other hitman is helping him coax until he gets the call to take out Collin for his mistake.
Since I was awake and not getting to sleep anytime soon, I decided to count the good moments. I was going to be looking closely at how writers weave tales, so why not start at 1:30 am? I liked how everything that was established in the beginning of the movie was paid off in the end. I think that’s what gave it such full circle powerful ending. Every single thing established was paid off while some movies mention 1 or 2 things to pay off very nicely. Nothing felt random in “In Bruges”. I wrote down all the set ups and pay offs to show myself how it was set up and it was paid off. I knew in my head, but I process it on the page.
I first made a cause and effect list– this was mentioned or introduced in the beginning and this is how it was paid off at the end. Sometimes it gets to the point when you’re watching a movie you know it’s a set up; they’re bringing attention to this or someone says something in a way so we see it paid off at the end. When the boss, Ralph Fiennes, says if he shot a child he would have killed himself on the spot, you know what dilemma is going to arise. When it does, we get to see if he is a man of his word or not. As a writer I wonder when something is so clean, “Is that a rewrite?” Did they know what they wanted to show in the boss so they wrote the ending. Then did they go back to a point and put a neon track light around the set up?
When something works it’s really nice. That’s what I took away from the movie. The first act was all set up and catalyst. You really felt how important an elegant, almost under the radar first act is. Everything else in the movie made sense. You knew the characters, where they were coming from, and cared where they were going.
And kept someone up all night thinking about it. Not a “gathered ’round the water cooler” moment but pretty close.