Martin McDonagh's Oscar-winning short Six Shooter showed a fine sense of irony, but this debut feature by the Irish playwright (The Pillowman) turned director is even more impressive in its command of tone. Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell play mismatched Irish hit men sent to Belgium for an assignment to be specified later; Gleeson's older, more settled character wants to experience the haunting medieval architecture, while Farrell's loudmouthed lad is bored stiff by the sightseeing. The movie gradually deepens from odd-couple comedy into Catholic-themed drama, but it remains marvelously funny throughout. Instead of hitting the easy notes of black humor, McDonagh skillfully modulates between broad character laughs and the men's piercing anguish as the story nears its bloody conclusion.
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