Award-winning playwright Martin McDonagh’s feature debut is an off-kilter blend of violence, philosophizing and oddball humor. It manages the rare feat of keeping the audience on its toes, striking that volatile mix where it seems anything can happen.

Two Irish hitmen, an old pro (Brendan Gleeson) and a guilt-wracked newcomer (Colin Farrell), head to Bruges on advice of their unstable boss (Ralph Fiennes) following a botched job.

McDonagh deftly pulls off the difficult shifting tone, which in the hands of a lesser writer and director could have been disastrous. The result is entertaining, brutal, disarmingly funny and at times touching.

Grade: A-

In Bruges is currently available.