Rewind: ‘In Bruges’

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With Martin McDonagh’s killer new play Hangmen having sold out on the West End—and now available in some theaters via National Theatre Live digital broadcast—it seems a good time to look back at his debut film, 2008’s hitman comedy In Bruges.

Assassins on Vacation” is at Eyes Wide Open:

The Bruges Chamber of Commerce was probably delighted with at least part of Martin McDonagh’s 2008 debut film In Bruges, as it delivers a ravishing viewpoint on this gorgeous Belgian town that appears to have been dropped into the 21st century from a fairy-tale version of the Middle Ages … Local boosters were certainly less taken, though, with most of what happens in this dark-as-night comedy, in which a pair of hitmen hiding out in the town spend their time arguing over whether or not the town is, in fact, “a shithole.” Later on, the guns come out, large quantities of blood are spilled, and a story that had been weaving a fairy-tale ambiance turns into a wholly different kind of fairy tale — one that doesn’t cater to tourists…

Here’s the trailer:

New in DVD: ‘Seven Psychopaths’

7psychopaths-dvd1The latest Martin McDonagh movie, Seven Psychopaths, comes out today on DVD and Blu-ray. It starts promisingly, with a cast ranging from a murderous Woody Harrelson to a bunny-stroking Tom Waits, not to mention plenty of McDonagh’s patented acerbic sarcasm. Unfortunately, it’s no In Bruges.

You can read my review at PopMatters:

At one of the quieter moments in Seven Psychopaths, Hans (Christopher Walken) tells his friend Marty (Colin Farrell) that the female characters in his screenplays are horrendous. Each gets only a few minutes of terrible dialogue before ending up dead. “It’s a tough world for women,” Marty stammers.

This is a multifaceted joke for Seven Psychopaths’ screenwriter and director, Martin McDonagh, who indeed makes sure that none of his female characters speaks an intelligent line or escapes suffering grievous bodily harm. One could argue that purposeful clichés are only worth citing if they help to unpack some of the prejudices or lazy thinking that gave rise to those clichés. Otherwise, it’s just the same old garbage with a smirk…

You can watch the trailer here:

New in Theaters: ‘Seven Psychopaths’

The new Martin McDonagh movie, Seven Psychopaths, opened yesterday, with a cast ranging from a murderous Woody Harrelson to a bunny-stroking Tom Waits. You can read my review at PopMatters:

At one of the quieter moments in Seven Psychopaths, Hans (Christopher Walken) tells his friend Marty (Colin Farrell) that the female characters in his screenplays are horrendous. Each gets only a few minutes of terrible dialogue before ending up dead. “It’s a tough world for women,” Marty stammers.

This is a multifaceted joke for Seven Psychopaths’ screenwriter and director, Martin McDonagh, who indeed makes sure that none of his female characters speaks an intelligent line or escapes suffering grievous bodily harm. One could argue that purposeful clichés are only worth citing if they help to unpack some of the prejudices or lazy thinking that gave rise to those clichés. Otherwise, it’s just the same old garbage with a smirk…

Seven Psychopaths is playing everywhere. For all its problems, it’s ultimately worth checking out—unless you haven’t seen McDonagh’s In Bruges, in which case, watch that immediately.

You can watch the trailer here: