In Bruges

  • Review Date: February 4, 2008
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 107 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Hit man movie is violent, profane, and provocative.
  • Review Date: February 4, 2008
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 107 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The film encourages viewers to think about the topics that the main characters discuss, but there really isn't any positive takeaway amid the violent mayhem.

Positive role models

The hit men are charismatic but also plainly troubled and confused. The employer is selfish and cruel but espouses a strict moral code (when someone kills a child, that someone must die). Other characters sell drugs, live dissolute lifestyles, and more.


Hit men frequently discuss murder. Images (flashbacks as well as present time) show brutal, bloody, loud violence. Weapons include guns, knives, and fists; effects include the decimation of heads and limbs. A young boy is shot in the head (bloody image recurs, haunting the killer); a man falls off a tower, with explicit results. Discussion of suicide, and one man almost shoots himself in the mouth. Finale features repeated shooting, foot chase through city streets, lots of blood, and visible pain.


Brief sex scene between Ray and Chloe (non-explicit passionate roll on bed); Chloe appears in bra and panties. References to hookers (a prostitute appears kissing a client); at a party, couples tongue kiss. Primary couple kisses passionately near the end.


Lots of language, including 100+ uses of "f--k" and several of "c--t," plus fewer uses of "s--t," (several with "hole," a couple with "horse"), "prick," "a--hole," "hell," and "p---y." Derogatory terms like "poof" and "fag" are also used, and there's heated discussion of racism.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Frequent smoking and drinking (liquor, beer, wine), in cafes, pubs, and hotel room; several scenes show drug consumption (snorting cocaine); pills discovered in a hiding place; repeated references to drugs (cocaine, heroin).

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this violent action dramedy is focused on the relationship between two professional assassins. While their conversations range from darkly comic to philosophical, the film's imagery is incessantly brutal and bloody. Weapons include guns, knives, and fists. A young boy is shot in the head, a man is stabbed, men punch and kick, there's an attempted suicide by gun, a man falls off a tower (graphic images of his crushed body), and heads and limbs are decimated. There's some sexual imagery -- particularly a brief roll on a bed that's interrupted by a jealous, gun-toting boyfriend -- as well as nonstop language (especially "f--k") and strong drug imagery.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

The title of IN BRUGES is increasingly resonant, as two hit men -- Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) -- are dispatched to Belgium following a botched job in London. Ray hates the place, so full of history, while Ken is moved by the art and architecture. Each man's reaction to Bruges parallels his moral journey. Overcome by the guilt over what went wrong during his first assignment, Ray alternately frets, contemplates suicide, and acts out aggressively, while Ken tries to soothe him with sightseeing trips and philosophical chats. Temporarily distracted by the beautiful Chloe; (Clemence Poesy), Ray doesn't know that Ken has received grave instructions from their boss, Harry (Ralph Fiennes). As Ray contemplates suicide, Ken considers sacrificing himself to save Ray; both options are trumped, however, by Harry's observance of a strict moral code, which is underscored and undermined by the fact that he is, after all, a brutal gangster.

Is it any good?


Darkly comic and dense with quick dialog, Anglo-Irish playwright Martin McDonagh's first feature recalls films by Quentin Tarantino, in which desperate, violent characters discuss their life choices and relationships while simultaneously committing heinous acts. While the action is showy and the blood spurty, it's the evolving intimacy between Ken and Ray that is most compelling. Gleeson is especially moving as the aging Ken, who's realizing at long last the emotional and ethical costs of his career as he sees the effects on his newbie partner. Their conversations -- undertaken while walking through cobbled streets, ornate churches, and art museums -- suggest a thoughtful underside to all the nasty antics.

At the same time, the film delivers a now-familiar sort of garish brutality, fast-paced and sharply critical of the banalities that shape pop culture. The subplots are cacophonous and telling, one concerning a movie-within-the-movie inspired by Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Now (another film about the confusing links between guilt and righteousness) and another involving a "midget" actor named Jimmy (Jordan Prentice), whose frustrations with Ray's simplistic-seeming moral scheme serve as evocative comedy and complicate the movie's examination of genre, morality, and power hierarchies.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the violence in the movie. Is it gratuitous? Why or why not? What are the consequences of the assassins' violent acts?

  • What commentary is the movie making on the role of violence in today's culture?

  • Contrast Ray and Ken. What are their differences and similarities? What role do guilt and a sense of remorse play for both men?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:February 7, 2008
DVD release date:June 24, 2008
Cast:Brendan Gleeson, Colin Farrell, Ralph Fiennes
Director:Martin McDonagh
Studio:Focus Features
Run time:107 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong bloody violence, pervasive language and some drug use.

This review of In Bruges was written by

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About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 13 years old Written byDrummer1235 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

Funny movie!

In Bruges is a very very funny movie. the first half is mostly comedy and the second half is not as funny and has more action. both halves make a very good and funny movie. Language and Violence are the primary concerns but are fine for anyone 12+. see this movie. peace
Teen, 16 years old Written bymcmoses November 29, 2010
One of the best films of the decade!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great role models
Adult Written byBestPicture1996 June 22, 2014

An accomplishment in dark comedy and morality!

I was totally bowled over by this movie, a hidden gem which did get some Golden Globe/Oscar recognition but never really has gotten the praise it deserves. It has fully realized, complex characters who struggle with what they do: murder. Do murderers go to heaven if they believe in an afterlife? What's the difference between killing a bad person or a bystander...isn't it still a life that weighs on you? All these components, coupled with a murderously villainous Ralph Fiennes and two great leads with bubbling chemistry result in a very dark humored comedy that must be seen by film buffs.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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