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In Bruges

review by Zach B.

 

 

MPAA Rating: R (For Strong Bloody Violence, Pervasive Language and Some Drug Use)

Running Time: 107 minutes

Starring: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes, Clémence Poésy, Jérémie Réiner

Written and Directed by: Martin McDonagh

 

Studio: Universal

Retail Price: $29.99

Features: Deleted and Extended Scenes, Gag Reel, When In Bruges, Strange Bruges, A Boat Trip Around Bruges, F**ing Bruges

Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, English Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, French Subtitles, Scenes (20 Scenes)

Released: June 24th, 2008

 

 

"In Bruges" is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, and it's a pretty exceptional transfer. Other than some edge enhancement, plus a little noise and some shimmering, everything else is first rate. The fleshtones are pitch perfect, detail is excellent (especially when it comes to exterior views of Bruges) and color saturation hits a sweet spot: bold, and well-balanced. The print used is very clean with the exception of a blemish here and there, and the transfer features a very fine, film-like texture that looks natural, even when filters are used. Well done! 

 

"In Bruges" features a Dolby Digital 5.1 track in English, and the audio delivers the appropriate punch. All the dialogue is very clear and easy to hear, while the songs - and Carter Burwell's fine score - have a lot of life and breathing room through the channels. The track is a bit front-centric when it comes to sound effects, but rest assured there are a decent number of surround sounds that are pretty enveloping - namely when the movie gets a bit violent and bloody with the various shootouts. Dynamic range is good, fidelity is pretty high and the .1 LFE - while not extraordinary - brings a bit of bass here and there. The ambiance of Bruges itself is also alive and well, too. This is a very fitting mix. 

A French Dolby Digital 5.1 track is also available, plus subtitles in English, French and Spanish.

 

There are a few things. First is a series of Deleted and Extended Scenes. The scenes are in non-anamorphic widescreen, and no introductions are given to put them in context. There are over 20 of them, each ranging from a few seconds to a few minutes, and lasting about 18 minutes in total. As you can probably guess, some are just an added line or an extended moment - nothing that really adds to the overall narrative. It's a nice inclusion, but I wish McDonagh or some other production source was on hand to give a few thoughts about these.

There's a pretty funny Gag Reel that lasts 6 minutes, and there's also F**king Bruges, which is a reel of muttered expletives.

The rest of the extras are three featurettes. When In Bruges (in anamorphic widescreen and lasting 14 minutes) features writer-director Martin McDonagh, and his inspiration in writing the movie - his own experiences when he visited Bruges, the story and the characters. The cast - Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Clemence Posey, Ralph Finennes, Jordan Prentice, Thekla Reuten - talk about their characters, and the appeal of the script. Also chiming in is producer Graham Broadbent. Informative and very low-key, and also very well done.

Strange Bruges (in anamorphic widescreen, 7-and-a-half minutes) has McDonagh, Broadbent and the cast going more into the location of Bruges, and how it plays into the script and its dynamics. There's also bits on famed Bruges locations used in the movie. A Boat Trip Around Bruges (non-anamorphic widescreen, 5:42) is a literal filmed boat trip around the city, while at the top of the screen facts about the city scroll from left-to-right. A clever change of pace from the usual factoid features on DVDs.

 

"In Bruges" marks the feature length debut of famed playwright Martin McDonagh, and while the movie didn't make too much of a mark at the box office, I really hope it gains more traction on DVD. The disc is pretty solid: a fine 5.1 mix, a terrific transfer and a few decent extras. This is a worthy rental.