Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Popcorn Interlude: IN BRUGES

It boasts an Irish writer-director in Oscar-winner Martin McDonagh and Irish talent in the form of Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell, but it’s a Belgian setting and it’s funded by British moolah – is it strictly correct to call IN BRUGES an Irish crime caper movie? On the basis that we never ask where the wonga is coming from to fund the various Irish writers out there, we’ll say a tentative yes, and give IN BRUGES (jump here for the trailer) the traditional ‘four thumbs aloft’ verdict (above, right). Gleeson and Farrell play a pair of odd couple London-based hitmen ordered to Bruges after a botched hit, during which Farrell’s character accidentally kills a young boy, there to await further instructions from their boss, played by Ralph Fiennes. Lob in an art-house Dutch flick filming dwarves, a drug-dealing femme fatale and a jealous boyfriend, and you have the basis for a knowing romp that isn’t afraid to turn dark and twisted. The finale is a little too neatly tied up, and the convenient coincidences come thick and fast, but there are a lot of laugh-out-loud moments, a breakneck pace, a superb performance from Gleeson, a beautiful setting expertly captured by cinematographer Eigil Bryld, and some cracking dialogue (“Retract that bit about my cunt fucking kids!”). Oh, and it also has Townes Van Zandt’s St. John the Gambler on the soundtrack. It wowed ’em at Sundance, and it’ll very probably thrill you too. Wanna see Bren & Col on the red carpet? Roll it there, Collette …