Flirting with Redemption and Salvation
Starring: Colin Farrell, Brendan
Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes,
Clémence Poésy, Jordan
Prentice, and Jérémie
Runtime: 107 minutes
Distributor: Focus Features/NBC
Director: Martin McDonough
Executive Producer: Tessa Ross, Jeff Abberly and
Producer: Graham Broadbent and Pete
Writer: Martin McDonough
Address Comments To:James Schamus, President
Focus Features/Rogue Pictures
A Division of NBC Universal and General Electric
65 Bleecker St., 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10012
Phone: (212) 539-4000; Fax: (212) 539-4099
The movie opens in Bruges, Belgium, a small town that retains its picturesque, medieval, and Christian, heritage. Ken, a middle aged hit man played by Brendan Gleeson, and his young partner, Ray, played by Colin Farrell, have been sent there by their boss, Harry, played by Ralph Fiennes (pronounced “Rafe Fine”). Harry tells them to lie low after their most recent job. Enjoy the sites and wait for my call, he tells them.
Ray, however, is soon bored by the medieval castles and churches that Ken likes to visit but is intrigued by the beautiful blonde woman he sees while watching a European movie crew. One night, he drags Ken to a bar to have some fun drinking. Ken gets the blonde’s phone number, but they miss Harry’s call. This irks Harry to no end, and he leaves a foul-mouthed message for them with the pregnant owner of their hotel, who is not amused.
The next night, Ken takes Harry’s call, but Harry tells Ken that the call is only for him. Ken tells Ray to go ahead and go out with the blonde. While Ray is gone, Harry tells Ken that he wants Ken to murder Ray, because Ray accidentally killed a boy in church during their last job, which was the murder of a Catholic priest. Harry has sent both men to Bruges, Belgium, thinking that Ray will enjoy the sites in this quaint, medieval, formerly Christian city before Ken has to kill him for Harry. Ray actually hates it there, however, but it is Ken who finds the city’s famous Christian churches re-awakening the Christian faith he grew up with as a Catholic boy. Ken’s newfound interest in and budding devotion to Christianity gives him second thoughts about killing Ray. Ken also thinks about trying to convince Ray to run away and leave his new career as a hit man behind him.
This violent, obscenity-laced, but compelling crime thriller has some strong Christian references. Not only is there Ken’s newfound interest in his lapsed Christian faith, but viewers also learn that Ray himself is struggling with the guilt he feels over accidentally killing the boy in the church. In fact, Ray has become so despondent over the boy’s startling death that he considers suicide, while Ken tries to dissuade his young friend from doing that. Regrettably, the movie abandons this Christian content for a bittersweet ending that leaves the salvation of Ken and Ray in strong doubt. Overall, therefore, the movie’s violent content, foul language, sex and drug references, and unresolved ending add up to an excessive Minus Three Rating from MOVIEGUIDE®.
This violent, obscenity-laced, but compelling thriller has some strong Christian references. Not only is there Ken’s newfound interest in his lapsed Christian faith, but viewers also learn that Ray himself is struggling with the guilt he feels over accidentally killing the boy. Regrettably, the movie abandons this Christian content for a bittersweet ending that leaves the salvation of Ken and Ray in strong doubt. Overall, therefore, the movie’s violent content, foul language, sex and drug references, and unresolved ending are ultimately excessive, especially when added together.