In Bruges

Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
In Bruges Movie Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Hit man movie is violent, profane, and provocative.
  • R
  • 2008
  • 107 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 13 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

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 & Representations

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.

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).

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 11, 14, and 16-year-old Written byspoko March 24, 2019

Know your child

One of my all-time favorite movies; I'll just say that up front. Hilarious, violent, and really truly touching. An excellent movie. I've watched this... Continue reading
Adult Written byfly_pan_am February 12, 2019

Dark comedy with plenty of suspense. Not for kids, though.

Kids will find this movie at best boring, and at worst scarring.

This movie is about two Irish assassins who have to lay low in Bruge (hence the title), after... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byFighterOfTheNightman June 15, 2020

I can't begin to say how much I love this movie

Let me just preface, this is by far my number 1 favorite movie of all time. The atmosphere and cinematographer is simply beautiful and enchanting, and the score... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byTrainspotter03 September 5, 2019

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?

Anglo-Irish playwright Martin McDonagh's first feature is darkly comic and dense with quick dialogue. It 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.

Talk to your kids 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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

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