Headscratchers / In Bruges

  • OK, I love this movie and I know the ending is a neat little contrivance that ties together a lot of the narratival and thematic strands together quite poetically. So here's my it-just-bugs-me. Ralph Fiennes's boss assassin Harry buys bullets from the dealer that are said to be able to blow someone's head off. And that's precisely what happens when he takes out the dwarf who is dressed like achild at the end of the movie, and then himself. You can see the blasted out hollow where the dwarf's skull used to be, and see a big damn explosion of Fiennes's face a moment later. But first that bullet passes through Colin Farrell's character Ray, specifically his stomach. Now, I'm no munitions expert, but wouldn't even a normally non-fatal wound basically destroy someone if it upon impact it has enough force to explode a human head? Then why do we see Farrell being lead off in an ambulance in a hazy conscious state, with the implied possibility that his sins were atoned for somehow and he might survive. I mean, it may be quite bleak and he's not expected to make it, but with a bullet that is seen to leave his torso through an exit wound and then annihilate the face of a midget after already passing through him...I mean, wouldn't he be toast?
    • It was a really tiny face.
      • Uuuummmmmm... No. No it wasn't.
      • It's good to see someone out there is doing the dwarf-head-size-research.
      • Hey, someone's got to.
    • Ray got a through and through, hitting nothing hard, and when it got to the midget's head, it hit bone and popped. You saw earlier that Harry was definitely using the Soft-tip version of the dum-dums, with greater penetration, so it is possible it coulda got through before expanding.

  • It bugs me that Gleeson's character's ready to kill Ray (because "that's what i do") then, prevents Ray from killing himself and helps him escape, and then tells his boss that he can go fuck himself and he's not gonna do his job (despite having killed a handful of people before), prompting said Boss to get to Bruges himself in order to cause the Downer Ending. It'd make more sense if, for example, Ken, after putting Ray on the train, had lied to Harry, telling him he did the job, and then Harry had somehow guessed it was a lie, prompting him to get to Bruges without putting the Idiot Ball in Ken's hands.
    • I think part of it was that Ken wanted to atone for his past sins, so he was trying to pull a Death Equals Redemption. If he lied to Harry, he would have gone on killing more people. Although yeah, I think he should have at least stalled a bit to buy more time for Ray to get farther away from Bruges.
      • He didn't have to stall. Ray was already on the train, none of them had any idea where he was going, and Harry clearly didn't think he was going to find him if he was planning to kill Ken instead. The only reason Ray was caught at all was because he got arrested.
    • Ken also owes his vengeance over the death of his wife to Harry, in addition to his livelihood. Considering that Ken considers Harry to be like family, telling such a serious lie to Harry is probably out of the question for him.
    • As for why Ken stops Ray from killing himself, the earlier scene in the church implies Ken is Catholic. Maybe he, like many Catholics, considers suicide to be a mortal sin, one that'll send Ray straight to Hell, so his gut reaction is to stop him? And after he's stopped Ray, he realizes that the fact Ray was ready to kill himself for shooting a kid means Ray is not beyond redemption, so he decides to give Ray a chance at that.

  • Why did they remove the flashback scene with Ken and Harry entirely? It was flawed, yes, and maybe I'm overreacting due to my being a Doctor Who fanboy, but the scene with Ken and Harry in the belltower has so much more meaning if you know that Harry avenged Ken's wife.
    • Ray still mentions that Harry avenged the wife in the racist rant scene.
    • I realize it's chronologically impossible for it to have happened, but related to this, it also bugs me that he didn't say "I decapitate people now. Decapitations are cool."
      • I have now pictured Matt Smith in his tweed jacket and bow-tie, caked in blood holding a bloody great sword. It's so wrong, yet so right.
      • Followed shortly after by River and Amy taking the sword away and destroying it. Because it's funny.
  • I don't get the significance of the diner couple being Canadian as opposed to American like Ray assumed. And how would they find him and identify him on the train going out of Bruges?
    • He could've been sighted at the station, and the driver was informed after they left? As for the Canadian thing - when the couple complained to Ray in the restaurant, Ray retaliated with a cheap shot about Vietnam (very much an American problem in most history books) and a punch, for "John Lennon, ya Yankee fuckin' cunt".
    • Mistaken Nationality. Many Irish people hear Canadian accents and assume them to be American, especially if the accent is particularly nasal.
      • If you're from, say, Toronto there's a good chance half of Europe will do that. A lot of larger-city Canadian accents are pretty neutral, so we just sound like people from the northern parts of the U.S. to most Europeans.
      • If you're from, say, most parts of the United States you probably couldn't tell a Canadian accent from a "some other part of the US" accent either.

  • So is the entire city of Bruges just entirely devoid of any form of law inforcement? You'd think that a firefight through the most densly populated areas of the city would attracted at least a bit of attention.
    • It was Christmas. Maybe they all decided to go on vacation and try and get out of Fuckin' Bruges.
    • Police sirens are heard in the distance at several points. And they do arrive reasonably fast to rescue Ray once the action is over.

  • How did Eirik know or find out who Ray was, and that he was a hitman working for a pal of his pal Yuri?
    • Harry Waters arranged for Ken to get the gun for Ray's "execution" from Yuri, so Yuri would have known of the link between Harry and Ken. Also, Yuri's "many alcoves in the park" advice to Ken suggests Yuri may have known the nature of the hit Ken had been tasked with. Yuri seems to be both chatty and detail-orientated, so it could well have come out in a conversation with Eirik that happened off screen. Yuri and Eirik may have connected the dots when they realised Ken and Ray are both Irish.
    • Additionally, Ken was around when Ray first met Chloe. Chloe and Eirik had a scheme to rob tourists and, before she fell for Ray, Ray was going to be just another of their victims. So it's possible that Ken was mentioned while Chloe and Eirik were plotting as someone who could have caused complications, or even as a potential "mark" to be robbed. So if Eirik had mentioned the older Irishman to Yuri, they could have connected the dots that way, too. Also, if Chloe and Eirik were targeting potential victims, might he have been lurking at the film set and seen Ken himself, then realised the link when he talked with Yuri?

  • After Ray shot the priest the first time, why was the little boy still just sitting there? You'd think he'd definitely have responded to a gunshot in a quiet church not twenty feet away from him.
    • Several possible reasons: The whole thing happened in just seconds, so he wouldn't have had much time to process what he'd heard and react to it. Unless a person is living under the threat of gunfire day to day and/or has been trained to identify it by sound and to take immediate evasive action, they may remain passive because they assume there's a more mundane, non-threatening explanation for the sound. (See reports of shootings where people initially thought it was a car backfiring, etc, delaying their response.) When Ray reads the piece of paper the boy was holding, it's a list "1. Being moody. 2. Being bad at maths. 3. Being sad" Presumably the kid's confession, or a Sunday school exercise (possibly even a detention-style punishment)? Suggests he's been told to stay in his seat until he's told to do otherwise by the priest. To a child being raised as a devout Catholic, the priest would be a powerful authority figure (one who could literally put the fear of God in him), so his obedience might well override his instinctive reaction to the sound of the gunfire.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Headscratchers/InBruges