In Bruges

Musical Score By: Carter Burwell

Songs By: Various Artists

Distributed by: Lakeshore Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            When I first saw the promo trailers for In Bruges, I thought the movie was a comedy.  My take on things was that Colin Farrell portrayed a down on his luck criminal who somehow finds himself in Bruges, Belgium.  I was to discover that I was partially wrong in my assessment.  Apparently In Bruges is about two hitmen, Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, who have been ordered to lay low in the most well-preserved medieval city in Belgium by their boss, portrayed by Ralph Fiennes.  While they are in Bruges, they have several strange encounters with the locals and tourists alike.  Still sounds somewhat like a comedy, right?

            Yet, when I popped the In Bruges Soundtrack in the player, I was surprised.  The soundtrack consists of  songs by Townes Van Zandt, The Walkmen, The Dubliners, Andreas Schmidt and The Pretenders and musical score composed by Carter Burwell.  New Yorker Carter Burwell is known for his creativity and vision.  In the 1980s, he worked in computer modeling and animation, most notably for the Japanese anime film Lensman, while also playing with various New York City-based bands and writing music for dance theater and film.  Since the 80’s, Burwell has composed the musical scores for such notable films as Fargo, Conspiracy Theory, Being John Malkovich, No Country for Old Men and more.

            When I think comedy, I think quirky musical composition and upbeat songs.  The songs on the soundtrack sound much like songs you would hear being crooned in an Irish pub after a few rounds.  Brandy Alexander, a song performed by The Walkmen, a New York City indie band, sounds like it’s being performed by Bob Dylan…except for the fact that I can understand the lyrics perfectly.  This is not to say that the songs are bad – they just take some getting used to.  However, I did enjoy the track by The Pretenders.  2000 Miles happens to be a song that I have always enjoyed and so I was happy to see it hear.

            As for the musical score – this I was totally unprepared for.  Most of the music was classical in nature with beautiful piano and string compositions.  Whereas I was expecting lighthearted musical composition, most of the tracks were somewhat melancholy in nature.  Reading the names of the tracks is enough to put you in a melancholy mood – The Little Dead Boy, Dressing for Death, I Didn’t Want to Die – yikes!  Of course, I am a sucker for beautifully composed classical music and the In Bruges Soundtrack did supply some very enjoyable pieces indeed.

            And yet, for all of its good points, I just couldn’t see me purchasing the In Bruges Soundtrack in a store for the asking price of $15.00US.  Perhaps this is simply another soundtrack for the bargain bin…or maybe you might want to pass it up altogether.


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