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Film

Revisiting the incredible phone call scene in the 2008 film 'In Bruges'

@Russellisation

Lit with the Christmas lights of the festive season, the Belgian city of Bruges has never looked better than in Martin McDonagh’s violent crime thriller In Bruge which often mocks the mere existence of the city itself. 

“Two weeks, in fuckin’ Bruges. In a room like this? With you? No way!” Colin Farrell’s Ray cries, a hitman dragged to the historic city with his partner Ken (Brendan Gleeson) after a job gone wrong. Laying low whilst they work out how best to assess the fragile situation, the pair await word from their boss Harry Waters (Ralph Fiennes) a murderous criminal whose heavy hand causes disastrous results for the group.

Fueling the film with wild venomous rage, Fiennes’ character, a manic, highly-strung and hilarious crime boss who lives a humorously normal life outside of his criminal wrongdoings dominate the screen as the cynical, blasé gangster trying to clean up the mess after a botched job. Whilst Gleeson and Farrell do well with the dense material from McDonagh, it is Fiennes’ performance, and indeed the quality of his character, that helps to elevate the story into the realms of a modern classic. 

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This comes to a head in one iconic sequence involving a phone call between his character and Gleeson’s, Ken, as the latter reveals that Ray has fled on a train in fear of being killed by the ruthless boss. Furious that Ken disobeyed his command to kill Ray, once Harry has hung up the phone he takes several moments of composed serenity before he smashes the black landline telephone against his desk.

Marching into his study, his wife, played by Elizabeth Berrington, shouts “Harry! It’s an inanimate fucking object!” before Fiennes turns around with perfect comedic timing to scream “You’re an inanimate fucking object!” in wild fury. 

One of the finest moments of Martin McDonagh’s comedy-drama hybrid, the scene perfectly encapsulates the rage and farce of the celebrated 2008 film, particularly when it’s topped off mere moments later when Harry apologises to his wife, saying, “I’m sorry for calling you an inanimate object. I was upset”. 

Speaking to Ain’t it Cool, the actor revealed how he revelled in a character who portrayed such opposing characteristics, changing his mood and sensibilities on a dime. Praising Martin McDonagh’s brilliant script, the actor explained, “I love it when the writing really shows up different aspects of a character in keen opposition. I can’t explain it, but I can completely buy that there is the family man and then there’s the business side with a set of business principles, and absolutely he operates by them like a code”. 

Take a look at the hilarious scene below, starring Ralph Fiennes in one of his finest ever moments in cinema, closely rivalling his work in The Grand Budapest Hotel and as the dark Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter series.