Truth Before Dishonor

I would rather be right than popular

Name this movie

Posted by DNW on 2013/10/17


Name this interesting, well-made, amazingly scenic, but thematically rough, and very adult movie.

The winner gets another Monica Vitti photo.

No, not really.

You don’t win anything. I just thought I’d post a couple of images of one of the more interesting movies I’ve seen in a while, thanks to DVD.

Canal

Canal

Yeah, yeah, "nooks and crannies" this might be better ...

Yeah, yeah, “nooks and crannies” this might be better …

Eric means no harm Mr. Waters. He's on your side.

Eric means no harm Mr. Waters. He’s on your side.

I didn't ask you to be his psychologist

I didn’t ask you to be his psychologist

It's about your friend

It’s about your friend

Update:

The movie is the black comedy, “In Bruges”.

And in Bruges, it’s set.

So, Yorkshire whose guess landed the next country over, would in fact get one point if this were horseshoes. But it’s not. So he doesn’t.

The plot centers on developments which take place as two hit men from England (one apparently Irish in origin) are sent to Bruges by their boss for reasons that are unclear to them. Are they there laying low after killing a priest back in England as part of their last job? Being rewarded with a touristy rest? Are they there, awaiting orders for a new job on the Continent?

The man they work for is the as yet unseen Harry Waters, a gangster boss, who despite his viciousness, is gradually revealed as having a kind of primitive honor-based moral code of his own, along with clear aspirations to bourgeois respectability.

We’ve seen that particular plot theme before of course: a ruthless mobster who attempts to live up to what few rules he does recognize.

In this movie it stands as a kind of intertwining but critical subplot, as the mobster in question, Harry Waters, is not the “focus on” protagonist, but rather constitutes for much of the film an off-screen presence of gradually increasing menace. He might make a classical antagonist if the true antagonist in this film were not of another kind entirely.

Remember your high school English classes? Man against man … man against nature, … and man against …

The gangster boss role of Harry Waters is particularly well inhabited by Ralph Fiennes, who when he does appear visually, imparts a personality and depth to the character (as do all the actors in this movie) which only adds to the emotional impact of events as they unfold. Despite yourself, you begin to care a bit about the fate of these characters.

Having watched the bonus tracks, this humanizing portrayal of people acting absurdly and even brutishly, was almost certainly intended by the director to produce just such an effect on the viewer.  The actors in their “bonus material” interviews seemed to think so. And they repeatedly remark on what they perceive as the rare quality and sensibility of the script, when judged against other materials they’ve been offered.

This is not a film for everyone. As immune as I am to offhand vulgarity, this movie is notably filled to brimming with the kind of casually obscene blasphemy employed by morally lost characters, which can cause almost any listener to cringe.

The devout and sensitive might have a difficult time bracketing the verbal offenses as part of a necessary characterization process. The film makers themselves acknowledge the over-the-top nature of this aspect of the film, with an ironically intended bonus track of nothing but staccato cuts of verbal obscenity.

Speaking of bonus materials, because In Bruges was shot on location in Bruges, what you see on screen is for the most part where they really were, and what is actually there; the interior top of a certain bell tower, excepted.

There was apparently enough coverage of an early canal tourism scene for the director, or someone , to put together an oddly fascinating – almost mesmerizing – video trip along the canals for which the city is so famous.

The movie stars Brendan Gleeson, Colin Farrell, and Ralph Fiennes, and features Thekla Reuten as the tourist hotel owner and manager. [It was Reuten’s picture in another role that I linked to in Dana’s, First Street Journal blog entry on women with guns. That image was taken from George Clooney’s movie about an American hit man working in Europe.]

One of the more amusing exchanges in the movie occurs when a mot juste obsessed Russian gun dealer offers Harry Waters some hollow point rounds for his gun.

“Would you like some dumdums? You know this word ‘dumdums’? The bullets that make the head explode?”

Waters’ response is, “Well I know I shouldn’t, but … ” as if he is being offered some tempting chocolate covered cherries.

Picking out a few at first, he ends up taking the box.

11 Responses to “Name this movie”

  1. AOTC said

    uh-oh

    I fear, once again ill lose another contest.

    too many years watching the beverly hillbillies and mr ed reruns have proven to have held me back from my potential. lol

    Like

  2. DNW said

    too many years watching the beverly hillbillies and mr ed reruns have proven to have held me back from my potential. lol”

    hahahahahhah. I recall watching the Beverly Hillbillies reruns too. It occurred to me that there was an interesting touch of absurdity beyond absurdity to the Double Ought Spy’s performances.

    Anyone now watching those early 1960’s reruns will discover to their amazement that generally speaking, there is a lack of that real viciousness and malice in the mockery which pervades the media today. Even the humanity of Drysdale’s wife was recognized.

    I don’t really expect anyone to get this movie, but I’ll give it a few more hours anyway.

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  3. Yorkshire said

    If canal is the hint, and some background architecture, I would say Amsterdam. One of many Dam places in The Nederlanders. Or as Holland-America Cruise Lines put it, sail our whole Dam Fleet!

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  4. Yorkshire said

    Back when my son was in HS, there was a Nederlander in his class under the AFS Exchange Student Program. And we were talking to him about his whole ****DAM country. It seems all cities ended in DAM (the cruise we took on Holland-America was the Statendam, and the exchange student lived in Veendam). So we asked about his neighboring countries. Now this is 1993 and I remember Jerry answering about the Belgians with “Oh, The stupid people” and we looked at him, he confirmed it, and 20 years later I remember it.

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  5. Yorkshire said

    You mean it wasn’t a leaner????? 🙂

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  6. Yorkshire said

    Is the actress the one that was in a boxing movie? 😕

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  7. DNW said

    Yorkshire said
    2013/10/19 at 21:22 e

    Back when my son was in HS, there was a Nederlander in his class under the AFS Exchange Student Program. And we were talking to him about his whole ****DAM country. It seems all cities ended in DAM (the cruise we took on Holland-America was the Statendam, and the exchange student lived in Veendam). So we asked about his neighboring countries. Now this is 1993 and I remember Jerry answering about the Belgians with “Oh, The stupid people” and we looked at him, he confirmed it, and 20 years later I remember it.”

    I worked with a group of very Americanized European men who were either English or Dutch. They had worked together as a team for some years. None of them to the best of my knowledge had any inculcated prejudices against anyone much less the Belgians.

    However, they would occasionally refer to the … uh how shall I put this euphemistically … “the proboscis probers”.

    When I asked them what in the world made them say that, they swore that every time they stopped at a traffic light in Belgium and looked over at the next car, the driver or a passenger had a digit stuck up their … well, you get the idea.

    That unfortunately has stuck in my mind as well.

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  8. DNW said

    Yorkshire said
    2013/10/20 at 21:59 e

    “Is the actress the one that was in a boxing movie?😕 “

    What boxing movie?

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  9. Yorkshire said

    Just found it – Hillary Swank – Million Dollar Baby

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  10. DNW said

    Yorkshire said
    2013/10/21 at 11:28 e

    Just found it – Hillary Swank – Million Dollar Baby”

    Ok, I can see why, with the vagueness that is natural to unimportant memories, you might ask.

    The answer is, “No” and “No”. But yes, they do share some resemblance around the mouth, when pictured smiling: though Swank’s overwhelming “toothiness” quotient is more pronounced.

    Although she is not unequivocally beautiful, Thekla Reuten is, in my opinion, much better looking when made up and professionally lit and shot than is Swank.

    Images, taken from other’s websites:

    Swank:

    Reuten:

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  11. Yorkshire said

    Just looked up a pic of Swank. No comparison. None. no way, never. It’s like the Seinfeld show where the woman had two looks depending on lighting. Or “Man Hands” edition of Seinfeld.

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