In Bruges, the first film from British playwright Martin McDonagh (The Pillowman) with Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson and Ralph Fiennes, will open the ’08 Sundance Film Festival on 1.7.08 in good old overdeveloped Park City, Utah. I saw the trailer last weekend while watching a film at the new Arclight Cinemas in Sherman Oaks. You can tell it’s antsy, angular and a bit nuts — a crime story about a couple of boob-level London assassins who may be a target of a hit themselves while staying in Bruges, Belgium — with fast punchy dialogue.
The only problem, of course, is the title, which 98% of U.S. moviegoers are going to go, “Huh?” I’ve been to northern Europe eight or nine times and even I didn’t know what “Bruges ” was unti llooking it up, and I’m still not 100% clear about how to pronounce it. McDonagh is said to be a feisty and forceful talent (he’s famed for having gotten into a tussle with Sean Connery at a London event 11 years ago, when he was 26), and he wouldn’t be successful if he listened to suggestions from journalists. But this title will do nothing to enhance business among the schmoes. At best it sounds like a James Ivory film. It would suck if the title was In Boston or In Providence, but In Bruges? Forget it.
The other thing I got from the trailer is that Farrell is starting to look a little too puffy and weather-beaten up for a 31 year-old guy. All those pints and fags will get to you after a while. He was a twentysomething pretty boy only two or three years ago, but right now he could pass for being 37 or 38. I know Farrell looks a bit older that his years in Woody Allen‘s Cassandra’s Dream. I realize that British and Irish guys aren’t known for aging all that well, but if he keeps up like this he’ll be a character actor by the time he’s 40.