Following a botched hit in London, Irish contract killers Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) are sent to the quaint Belgian city of Bruges and told to wait for further instructions from their employer, Harry (Ralph Fiennes). While Ken takes in the sights and historic medieval buildings, Ray is morose and withdrawn, disgruntled with the lack of local nightlife and wracked with guilt over his accidental murder of a child. One night, while observing a film shoot with the dwarf actor Jimmy (Jordan Prentice), Ray strikes up a romance with Chloë (Clémence Poésy), a local drug dealer and thief moonlighting as a production assistant.
Despite his budding romance with Chloë, Ray\\\'s guilt over his murder of a child haunts him at every waking moment. Ken finally receives a call from Harry, who orders him to kill Ray on the principle that the killing of a child – even accidentally – is beyond the pale. Ken retrieves a pistol from Harry\\\'s local contact and tracks Ray to a park. As Ken approaches Ray from behind to kill him, he sees Ray is about to shoot himself – and stops him. Bewildered at each other\\\'s motives, Ken disarms Ray and convinces him to avoid suicide, putting him on a train out of Bruges. Following Ray\\\'s departure, Ken calls Harry, reveals his insubordination and location, and abruptly hangs up. In London, an enraged Harry says goodbye to his wife and children, and heads to Bruges alone, where he visits his contact for a weapon.
Before Ray\\\'s train has travelled far from the town, he is arrested by local police for his assault on a Canadian couple the previous evening. He is returned to Bruges. Ken meets Harry for a drink before ascending the steps of Bruges\\\' landmark belfry, where Ken offers his life in exchange for Ray\\\'s, declaring that Ray deserves a chance at redemption. Despite Ken\\\'s unapologetic offense, Harry refuses to kill him, choosing instead to wound Ken. Meanwhile, Ray has been bailed out of jail by Chloë, and the two share a drink on the market square beneath the belfry. As he discovers that Ray is back in Bruges, Harry turns on Ken and shoots him in the neck. Harry descends the steps to confront Ray, leaving Ken to die. Ken, mortally wounded, climbs back to the top of the carillon tower and leaps off, impacting against the plaza but with enough life left to warn Ray of Harry\\\'s arrival.
Ray sees Ken\\\'s fall, approaches and recognizes him, and then flees after seeing Harry, who has climbed down the stairs of the tower. He goes to the hotel and finds a gun that Ken had left. Harry finds the hotel and enters, but the pregnant wife of the owner of the hotel does not let him go upstairs to Ray\\\'s room. After a short conversation, both men agree that Ray will try to flee from the back of the hotel, and Harry will run after him and shoot him if he can. Ray jumps on a boat passing by, and Harry shoots him from a distance. Harry pursues the now wounded Ray through the streets before stumbling onto the film set, where Harry shoots Ray another 3-4 times, in the process inadvertently killing Jimmy. Mistaking Jimmy\\\'s decapitated body for that of a child, Harry shoots and kills himself, on principle. A gravely wounded Ray is lifted onto an ambulance where, surrounded by the townspeople, he loses consciousness.