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Tuesday 22 December 202018.00

Writer-director Martin McDonagh’s 2008 film In Bruges is a dark comedy pushed to the furthest extent – the screenplay’s hilarious moments and brutally depressing ones bleed into each other in a way that creates a viewing experience which is often thrilling and troubling simultaneously. Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) deliver sharp, witty dialogue in a fantastic double act as Irish hitmen sent to hide out in the tiny, picturesque Belgian town of Bruges over the festive season. The town increasingly becomes a repressive cage for Ray as he struggles to deal with his emotions in such a purgatorial state, and pressure from their boss Harry (Ralph Fiennes) back home leads to the trip becoming very different from the laying low and sightseeing that Ken had in mind. Christmas doesn’t play a big role in the film, but it should function as an excellent alternative to a more sentimental family classic for this time of year.

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