Top 5 Tuesday: Colin Farrell

In addition to the new ‘Friday Flashback’ segment, I thought to also include a ‘Top 5 Tuesday’ as well. Not too wordy – just a quick Top 5 list of various filmmakers, actors, movies, and such. And in watching Peter Weir’s inspiring (and beautifully shot) 2010 film The Way Back last week, I was reminded of how impressive and diverse the resumé of Colin Farrell is becoming. I know that he has a reputation for not being the most well-liked of celebrities, but every time I see him speak, he comes off as self-effacing, witty, intelligent, and genuine. I must admit, I like the guy – and more importantly, I like watching him work on screen. His idol Al Pacino (so he has awesome taste to boot) went so far as to call the Dublin-born star “the best actor of his generation” – and that might not be so absurd a thought. How many times have we heard that Johnny Depp or Edward Norton (both great talents) are so great at selecting the projects they work on…that they have such terrific range? This is, for the most part, quite true. But since bursting onto the scene, Farrell should start to be recognized as being in that very same boat. Courageous, smart choices (let us pardon him for Alexander and Miami Vice, shall we) in big-budget and indie films – showing remarkable range. Here are what I think Colin Farrell’s Top 5 Performances are to date:

5. Tigerland (2000)

Farrell really started to open some eyes with his Texan twang in this gritty Joel Schumacher film. The movie follows a small band of recruits inFort Polk, LA during their training before they are shipped off to war. Here, he played Private Roland Bozz, a draftee who opposes the Vietnam War and has a knack for getting into trouble and helping others get discharges. Farrell shows great range here and, though he appeared in The War Zone just a year prior, this was the role that launched his career of working with some of the world’s finest directors.

4. The Way Back (2010)

A great turn in a strong supporting role here. Farrell plays Valka, a Russian criminal who will stab you if you don’t give him your sweater when he demands it. But Farrell also makes sure to give his tough thug a soft side too, which he does gracefully (as he shows when he speaks of his beloved homeland). The film follows a group of prisoners who escape a Russian gulag during World War II only to walk 4,000+ miles to freedom inIndia. The movie is grand in scope with gorgeous art direction and cinematography. Farrell, as part of a terrific ensemble of international actors, stands out in his very complex role. I know he was not nominated for an Oscar, but I do hope he was given the serious consideration he rightfully deserved.

 

3. interMission (2003)

This Irish black comedy (directed by John Crowley) was one of the year’s very best, in my opinion. Again, Farrrell co-stars as a significant piece to a much larger puzzle playing Lehiff, a petty and dysfunctional criminal. The intersecting stories weave seamlessly throughout and, as usual, you can’t take your eyes away from what Farrell is doing on screen – especially in the scenes that involve Detective Jerry Lynch (Colm Meany), a man who has dedicated himself to ridding the streets of Dublin from scum like Lehiff. This movie went under the radar here in the States – and I would highly recommend it for anyone who missed it.  Yes, he has played the “tough guy” a few times, but he always manages to create many layers underneath that give us characters more depth and help us empathize with his plight.

 

2. At Home at the End of the World (2004)

Another huge box-office flop and another film that landed on my Top Ten Films of 2004. Why did no one see this heartwarming, funny, original, and beautifully crafted film (with a great score by Duncan Sheik)? Farrell gives a riveting, uninhibited performance here as Bobby Morrow, a young man who grew up only knowing tragedy – and becomes best friends with the awkward and openly gay Jonathan (Dallas Roberts) in high school. The two couldn’t be more opposite – but that is what makes them inseparable. The film follows their very close friendship through the years – as well as the 3rd party of the trio, Clare (Robin Wright Penn). Farrell creates a tender and “real” character in this moving Michael Mayer film. From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hours, this film covers a 12-year span – from the suburbs of Cleveland to the Big Apple. A great piece of storytelling – and again, Farrell brings to it, a great sense of warmth and humanity. 

1. In Bruges (2008)

Can you believe Farrell tried to talk writer/director Martin McDonagh out of casting him for this superb film??? Thank God, McDonagh didn’t listen. Not only is this a brilliant film (McDonagh’s first feature length), but Farrell once again gives a tremendous performance, this time playing Ray, a novice hitman who has been racked with guilt since botching his first assignment. He is sent by his boss Harry Waters (a wonderfully over-the-top Ralph Fiennes) to stay in Bruges with his elder accomplice Ken (Brendan Gleeson) until they receive further instructions. Really, Harry has ordered Ken to rub out Ray for the blown assignment. This is without a doubt a must-see film — and one of the best comedies to come out in recent years. Farrell’s chemistry with Gleeson throughout the film is terrific, which is absolutely key to making this original black comedy work. Farrell garnered a Golden Globe award for his stellar performance here — whatever that’s worth, as those awards are beyond ridiculous, but he creates a character we can completely empathize with…he makes us laugh throughout, but also adds such pathos to the confused hitman that we can’t help but feel sorry for him. I can’t say enough about this fantastic movie — and Farrell clearly shines, as he usually does. Now it’s time he starts getting noticed for doing so with each film he appears in.

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16 Responses to Top 5 Tuesday: Colin Farrell

  1. Anonymous says:

    i really love and admire collin farrell; i liked each of his movies. he is very talented and very intelligent. i wish him the best of all.

  2. lady says:

    hola soy colombiana y de colin farrell me pateve el tipo mas papasito de todos me envanta su cuerpo todo ese man es el mas churro pa que mas i love you colin farrell

  3. mcarteratthemovies says:

    You know, I’ve never really liked Colin Farrell. I guess I should give him another chance?

  4. Richard says:

    Nice list, Peter. I wasn’t much of a Farrell fan until I saw him hamming it up in Daredevil. And I absolutely love In Bruges! One of the funniest movies of the last 10 years, for sure.

    • we completely agree on In Bruges. Yeah, you know…I was kinda not a fan of his (I think it was his image as it is portrayed through the media) — but every time I see one of his films…especially the smaller indie films….I am fully impressed. He is a smart actor and yes, when I hear him speak, he is very likable. Thanks as always Richard!

  5. Red says:

    In Bruges almost has to be at the top. Wonderful performance. With the exception of Alexander (although, the director’s cut does improve that movie greatly), I’ve always been a huge fan of Farrell. Ondine is probably in my top 5 as well.

    Farrell actually just signed up for another movie with McDonagh. Definitely looking forward to it.

    • Hey Red! Hope all is well! Thanks for the tip on Alexander, which I could not stand (though I love Stone’s work). Perhaps I will sit through the director’s cut some day soon. I also enjoyed Ondine very much — and he was terrific in it. McDonagh is a master writer — one of the best in the theatre and In Bruges was a fantastic debut — so I am more than a little excited to see their next collaboration!!!

  6. Some really good choices here. I haven’t seen #2, though, and now I really, really want to watch it.

    • Thank you for the comment. Yes, it is an unusual choice for Farrell, but that is part of what makes it so intriguing. I loved the movie and if you are looking for something to rent, I would surely recommend it!

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  8. Castor says:

    Enjoyed his role in The Way Back, it’s too bad he leaves the movie half way through. Also can’t argue with In Bruges at the top, most definitely his best performance to date. Haven’t seen the other ones yet 😦

    • Yeah, I didn’t like him leaving at that point, but it is done very nicely. That’s Farrell though — he leaves you wanting more. You should definitely try to catch interMission. It’s a great flick.

  9. I totally agree with this list. In fact, he’s starting to become my favorites. I have a couple of honorable mentions: “The New World” and “Crazy Heart”. The latter of which was a fun, low-key role that I seemed to enjoy as he is able to be a good support for Jeff Bridges.

    • I had two honorable mentions myself. Yes – totally agree that he was terrific in Crazy Heart and shows great range here. It sounded like such bizarre casting, but he fit in so nicely. Loved seeing him in this small role. The other I was thinking of was for his very touching performance in Neil Jordan’s “Ondine.” He was excellent in “The New World” too, as you mention. Five slots go too quickly, I guess. Thanks for the input!!!

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