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It follows Ray (Farrell) and his friend Ken (Gleeson) around the city of Bruges as they attempt to stay out of trouble, trouble coming in the form of Harry (Fiennes.) Harry wishes Ray dead following the accidental murder of a child whilst on his first job as a hitman, and the film is largely about the guilt and grief he feels following his actions. Bruges is a haven for the insane, as they encounter midgets, prostitutes and homosexuals, yet they also encounter a love interest in the form of Chloe, played by the beautiful Clemence Poesy. It is a dark comedy. Camera Angles and Shots: The film opens with a variety of shots of the city of Bruges. High angle shots are used on gargoyles, stone statues and the church, creating the impression that religion will be a key theme throughout the duration of the film. Use of the high angle shot reflects the fact that the characters may feel diminutive in its presence, how God and the need to reconcile for sins are more powerful than themselves. Close ups are used too to show the eeriness, creepiness and scariness of the place, symbolising the fear th e main character Ray will feel as he struggles to cope in the aftermath of his mistake. A lo ng shot is employed into the sequence to help establish the setting, showing how the church towers over the city. This reiterates the idea that it will be highly significant and important throughout the film, and will have some bearing on the consequences of the characters. Again, long shots of the Bruges skyline help the viewer become familiar with the place, portraying to be extremely medieval, old fashioned and not modernised. Mise· en Scene: Mise· en Scene is used effectively, with the timing night. This is recognised by the use of the dark sky, and the old fashioned street lamps in action to illuminate the streets. This adds to the eeriness, whilst also reflecting the dark, depressing and bleak mind of Ray. The church, however, is clearly vis ible due to use of candle light and street lamp. Use of this suggests it is significant, and a place of sanctuary, holiness and protection from the darkness. If it is to be interpreted symbolically, the darkness could be the heart of Ray, and the church·s policy of forgiveness and reconciliation would save him from himself. The street floors are wet, hinting that it has just rained, with the rain symbolising the sin of murdering the child and Ray·s own arrival to Bruges, adding to the misery too. However, the gargoyles seem dry compared to the floors, hinting that it is immune to evil and reiterating it is a magical place. No people are seen, and the stillness of the river shows it is a calm, uneventful and tranquil place. This is ironic due to the nature of the events that are to unfold during their stay in the city. A dying tree can be seen in one shot, and could be a sign of the death of the child and the promise of more death later.
Edits: This scene contains many shots of Bruges, all at a slow pace, wi th shots fading between each other. Once more, this is a sign of the serenity, peacefulness and stillness, the use of the fade moving things along slowly. There is no incident, there is nothing extravagant , and there is certainly no sign of an event unfold ing. Typography is basic. The font is simple, small and plain, around size twelve in white on a dark background. The use of the colour white and smallness in size could reflect the innocence and purity of the deceased infant, whilst the large black backgro und around it could, oppositely, symbolise the evil, malicious, criminal actions of Ray. And the darkness of his soul. Another interpretation of the little writing could be echoing the hatred he feels for the place, and how little he cares for it. Sound: Sound is pivotal in this opening. Violins and a piano are playing softly. This further reinforces the morose atmosphere, the sadness of the incident and the sadness of the deterioration of Ray. It creates an emotional, sad atmosphere, representing the inn er state of the antagonist. It is of a fairly loud volume, yet it lessens upon the first piece of dialogue, from Ray. He addresses the audience, telling us how he got to Bruges and the reasons behind it. ¶ We had to await instructions«I didn·t even know whe re Bruges fucking was.· In telling that he had to await instructions, it shows he is not in control of his own fate, that the stability of his own life lies in the hands of some mysterious, unknown power. This grips us, as we yearn to discover whom. Use of the word ¶fucking· tells a lot about his character. He is rude, unpleasant, and straight forward, speaking what he thinks. It hints at his agitation, anger and annoyance at himself and having to hide, a theme that is to be expanded as the film goes on, an d will eventually come to a huge climax. Representation: Representation is used in this extract. Bruges itself is represented as a bleak, depressing setting, again setting the tone of the movie and reflecting the sole of the struggling antagonist. It is a medieval, gothic place, again a symbol of the misery for the film. Evidence of it·s unpopularity comes later in the film, where Ray describes it as a ¶shithole.· Yet as stated above it seems an extremely calm place too, shown in the stillness of the rive r. A church is represented as the central point of the city, and a place of safety, heaven, and reconciliation. Ray himself is represented as a hardened man, ¶I dumped the gun in the river.· His matter-of-fact tone suggests he is a bluntly honest, forthright character. Use of his swearing possibly hints at a lack of manners, consequently a lack of proper education. This hints that he may be a low class man of little status, whom
turned to such desperate measures in order to make a living for himself. In doing this it serves to make his character unpredictable and unstable, which entertains the viewer for they may ne ver know what he will do next. Hitmen are represented as dangerous too, such as the leader Harry, who again is a deranged lunatic. The female love interest, Chloe, is represented as being just as dangerous as the men: she sells drugs, she dates dangerous men, and throughout the film can be just as sly and manipulative as Ray. However, she symbolises far more: she symbolises beauty, humanity and love. This is significant because she is the means of which Ray decides to keep living and breathing, she keeps him alive simply by her love, partly helping to nurse his heart and soul back to health. A dwarf named Jimmy is also a central character: he is created as a spiteful, drugged, eccentric character, often mimicked and mocked by Ray and Chloe for his size, (a p rime example being when Ray karate chops his neck and says, ¶back off shorty.·) This possibly suggests all midgets are objects to be mocked and ridiculed, which may cause offense. Ideology: The ideology of ¶In Bruges· is fascinating. The director chose Bruges as an ideal location because it is small, remote and isolated, which is perfect due to the fact the characters need to flee and lie low, the place permitting them to do so undetected. Also, the director greatly made sinning and religion a huge subject . Having killed the infant, Ray pesters his friend Ken about his own personal views, for he fears refusal to heaven. This possibly suggests that if you do murder somebody, it destroys your soul, and you end up a depressed, guilty human being. However, the director possibly believes that love can cure this: as I stated above Chloe represents love, and as she comes into Ray·s life his attitude seems to change, for he begins to have a newfound happiness, more positive view on life, and a purpose to survive. Ye t inevitably the director could think that inevitably, what goes around comes around: Ray is made to pay by Harry, whom prior to accidentally murdering Jimmy fires many bullets into the antagonist, slaughtering him for his earlier sin of murdering the chil d. Target Audience: The target audience of In Bruges is a specialist bunch. It is an extremely dark film, and covers some distasteful and controversial themes and topics, such as the deaths of dwarves and infants, prostitution and religion. This film may amuse teenagers in parts, yet it gains its certificate as an 18 due to the fact that only adults may be able to be more appreciative of its genius, recognising the subtly of the jokes throughout. It is not an obvious comedy, yet it is none the less a film full of controversial jokes that you just cannot help but chuckle at. Due to the events of the film, adults may also be more wiser and mature, able to deal with them easier.
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