In Bruges (2008)

The Setup

There are a lot of writerly things going on with this script. Most of them are standard devices. Almost too standard.

But there is something I noticed. The spoiler here is that the story takes over by the very end and the structure of the story forces the characters to knowingly act as they know they must. Even at great sacrifice. This works by two means. One is conventional: the code of the assassins is underscored as it is in hundreds of movies. This is supplemented by the nature of the place as a sort of purgatory which has its own rules leading toward passage.

But there’s a second writerly trick at work here. It is the use of story fragments being introduced at one point in the story in such a way that they are tagged with significance. Then those story dynamics take on a life of their own and retouch the narrative later on. An example is that the threat of a bottle is introduced. Later, that threat appears. Its only done there and a few other times so we can subconsciously read the sense of the story. Midgets dying. Guns in rivers. Written instruction. Weight and climbing stairs. Prostitutes.

Of course the all-important film within the film makes an appearance.

So this sets us up for the noir-driven ending where an earlier story element inserts itself taking control.

Ferrell always understood this method, even as Bullseye. He’s good, that one. What would we do without the Irish and Australians?

Posted in 2008

Ted’s Evaluation — 3 of 3: Worth watching.


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