In Bruges–if only I could understand the Irish dialect

In my cable TV plan I’m entitled to watch two Box Office movies per month for free. I usually have a glance at what’s available and dismiss it, but this time I remembered that “In Bruges” which came out last year, was quite a hit, so we watched it. We could only watch because, quite honestly, we did not understand what the two main characters were saying most of the time. Colin Farrell apparently won a Golden Globe for his performance as the tormented hitman. His acting was good but it was like watching a silent movie without the subtitles.

I simply don’t understand the Irish dialect. And no, I don’t have a hearing problem. In fact I have a problem because I hear the slightest sound which can really be disturbing when one craves total silence. And it’s not a problem with dialects per se, because I understand the Scots, the Americans, the Welsh and even the New Zealanders (lol.

It’s the infernal Irish who always give me trouble. They mumble something and drive me mad. In fact, when they talk about the “Troubles” I often think they mean their linguistic troubles. Nobody understands what they are saying. No wonder they turn to drink and riverdancing.

It was Colin Farrell in “In Bruges” who drove me nuts. He garbled something and I would say “Que?’ and then he would get on to the next bit of babbling in tongues. My husband lost patience with the whole thing, tried the Closed Captions bit on the TV in the hope that there would be subtitles, found they were unavailable and walked out of the room, leaving me to it.

So what did I think of the film apart from the fact that I missed out on the dialogue until Ralph Fiennes did his excellent imitation of Cockney English, which I did understand?

There was plenty of action and I got the gist of the narrative, but missed out on the comedy part which is supposed to be in it. From what I could see with the emphasis on ‘see’ “In Bruges” has a poor man’s Quentin Tarantino style of quirkiness. If you enjoy prolonged death throes (who doesn’t?) with the characters being punctured so many times that you can see right through them as if they were made of Belgian lace then you’ll relish this film.

I suppose it wasn’t meant to make sense but was a bit of harmless fun with lots of tomato sauce and bursting of balloons sound effects. There were pedestrian chases and clambering up and down the steps of the Bruges belltower and, in my opinion, Brendan Gleeson was the better actor of the two hitmen.

However, the best actor in the film was Ralph Fiennes and when he came on the scene, the film got some momentum. Those of you who are Ciaran Hinds admirers as I am, had better enjoy Ciaran’s cameo appearance while you can, cause he leaves the set pretty quickly. It was certainly a brief encounter.

Having been to Bruges myself I can sympathise with Colin Farrell’s character who thinks the place is boring. I remember suffering through religious triptychs in the Art Gallery there. The architecture of the place is sort of grotesque, slightly Gothic, slightly Grimms Fairy Tales with its chevron brick buildings. And it is a special delight for people who enjoy tripping over cobble stones

But then I’ve never understood the purpose of Belgium. Is it French? Is it Dutch? Why does it exist at all? So don’t get me started on Flanders. Now what is that all about?

One of my sons has told me that he avoids any film which is a hit at the Sundance Film Festival. Well, “In Bruges” opened the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. If only I had looked up Wikipedia sooner.


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