Esteemed and beloved Irish actor Colin Farrell has been an unrelenting force in Hollywood since his film debut in the 1999 drama The War Zone. In the nearly 25 years and various life experiences that have followed, the star has crafted an illustrious and remarkable career where no genre has been left unexplored. Farrell is able to transform himself impeccably for every role he takes, whether it’s a struggling screenwriter, butt-kicking S.W.A.T. officer, hopeless single, or a magical wizard. Regardless of how varied his performances are, he also somehow manages to bring his own unique charm and sex appeal to each role he plays. His collection of projects and portrayals reflect his desire to do it all, and it sure doesn’t seem like the star is slowing down anytime soon.
Farrell has many exciting upcoming films in the works, most notably the Matt Reeves-helmed DC reboot The Batman, in which he will portray Oswald “Oz” Cobblepot, A.K.A the Penguin. The actor’s talent for completely immersing himself in a role has not gone unnoticed; fans of the superhero franchise were shocked by the on-set photos and deemed Farrell unrecognizable. Hey may even appear in a spinoff series about the character. It just goes to show how committed Farrell is to the craft. This is a deep dive into the best Colin Farrell films.
10 Phone Booth
The Joel Schumacher neo-noir thriller Phone Booth follows a young publicist targeted by a vicious hidden sniper after answering a call inside a phone booth. Farrell leads the film as Stuart “Stu” Shepard, the lying and narcissistic publicist preyed upon by Kiefer Sutherland, the unnamed and conniving sniper. Farrell and Sutherland proved to be a successful pairing, as Phone Booth went on to make nearly $100 million and helped further establish the actor as a leading man. Phone Booth’s uncommon pacing and claustrophobic locations allowed it to stand out from others; it is set in real time and the duration of the events in the movie matches how long it takes to watch it. This approach is also done in Sutherland’s show 24.
A modern adaptation of the 1975 television series of the same name, the 2003 action thriller S.W.A.T. boasts an A-list cast of stars like Colin Farrell, Samuel L. Jackson, LL Cool J, and Michelle Rodriquez. The film centers on the L.A.P.D.’s Special Weapons and Tactics team, as they go head-to-head against an imprisoned drug kingpin who offers a $100 million reward to anyone that can break him out of prison. Farrell portrays Officer Jim Street, a former S.W.A.T. officer who is demoted to working police inventory when he refuses to implicate his partner in a hostage situation gone awry. The film was a summer box office hit, earning over $200 million and garnered solid reviews from critics, solidifying Farrell’s early credentials as an action movie star.
8 The Gentlemen
From the creative mind of esteemed English director Guy Ritchie comes the action comedy The Gentlemen, a story about an American marijuana kingpin in England who wants to sell his lucrative business, and in doing so sets off a domino effect around him. The ensemble flick features the talent of some of Hollywood’s greatest like Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Colin Farrell, and Hugh Grant. Farrell is delightful as Coach, a trainer to a group of amateur MMA fighters and aspiring YouTubers who must clean up a mess his students create. The exciting and entertaining comedy was a commercial success and garnered glowing reviews, with the performances of the cast and directing being praised. The brash and boisterous film definitely allows each of its talents to shine delightfully, especially Farrell in his tracksuit-wearing glory.
7 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Serving as both a spin-off and prequel to the adored Harry Potter series, 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them depicts the magical adventures of writer Newt Scamander in a secret community of witches and wizards, 70 years before the events of Harry Potter. With a large ensemble cast that includes Eddie Redmayne,the spin-off took audiences by storm and elaborates on Harry Potter’s mysterious and rich mythology. Farrell stars as Percival Graves, the Director of Magical Security for MACUSA and a high-ranking Auror. Like its predecessors, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was a box office phenomenon, raking in $814 million and collecting positive praise for its magical performances, visual effects and production. Farrell does an amusic job playing Graves with a prim and proper seriousness, but also expertly hints at the mysery and darkness lurking beneath the character.
6 The Lobster
Arguably one of the strangest and most surreal black comedies in recent years, 2015’s The Lobster is set in a dystopian future and follows a group of single people in a lavish hotel who are given 45 days to find romantic partners or else they will be turned into animals. Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz portray a man and a woman who attempt to forge a relationship, and the film features John C. Reilly, Olivia Colman, and Ashley Jensen in supporting roles. The offbeat and bizarre dystopian picture was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and won the Jury Prize. While audiences had no idea what to make of The Lobster, critics couldn’t get enough of the movie, with Farrell and Weisz earning praise for their unsettling, subdued performances. Farrell specifically does a great job capturing the stilted awkwardness of his character. Variety called the film “a wickedly funny, unexpectedly moving satire of couple-fixated society.”
5 Minority Report
Tom Cruise and Colin Farrell teamed up to star in the 2002 sci-fi action movie Minority Report, which is loosely based on the 1956 Philip K. Dick short story. The excellent adaptation takes place in the year 2054, where a special police unit arrests murderers before they commit their crimes, with Cruise portraying an officer himself accused of future murder. The Steven Spielberg extravaganza combines elements of tech noir, thriller and mystery genres, and upon its release became one of the best-reviewed films of 2002. Farrell takes on the role of Danny Witwer, an agent from the Department of Justice pursuing Cruise’s character, in a performance that would further elevate his Hollywood status. In 2008, the American Film Institute nominated Minority Report for its Top 10 Science Fiction Films list.
The 2018 heist thriller Widows features an ensemble cast including Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriquez, Colin Farrell, and Daniel Kaluuya, and depicts four women who band together after being left in debt by their dead criminal husbands, deciding to forge a future of their own doing. Viola Davis leads the cast as widow Veronica Rawlings, with Farrell portraying politician Jack Mulligan, a man caught up in her devious plan. Steve McQueen’s directing was heralded, as was the screenplay, performances, and the film’s ability to blend “dramatic themes with popcorn thrills.” The ensemble thriller earned numerous accolades and awards and was a box office success, grossing $76 million worldwide.
3 Seven Psychopaths
The satirical dark comedy Seven Psychopaths centers around who accidentally becomes involved with a Los Angeles criminal underworld after his buddies kidnap a gangster’s dog. The farce is jam packed full of Hollywood’s finest talent, with big names like Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Tom Waits, and Woody Harrelson joining Colin Farrell on screen. The Martin McDonagh movie is the second time the director joined forces with Farrell, and McDonagh (along with Yorgos Lanthimos) is one of the directors who can bring out the wittiest and yet most empathetic performances from the actor. The zany and wildly entertaining Seven Psychopaths features memorable performances, smart dialogue, and bloody satire that immediately captures the attention of audiences. Farrell and Rockwell’s on-screen dynamic was also singled out, their characters proving to be excellent foils to one another.
2 The Killing of a Sacred Deer
Based on the ancient Greek tragedy Iphigenia at Aulis by Euripdes, 2017’s psychological thriller The Killing of a Sacred Deer follows a cardiac surgeon who befriends a teenage boy whose father he was unable to save. Farrell stars as the doctor, with Nicole Kidman searingly portraying his wife and Barry Keoghan as Martin Lang, the boy with menacing motives. The thriller was screened at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival and garnered stellar reviews, with particular praise for the powerful performances of its leads. The Killing of a Sacred Deer is full of dark twists and turns, with the horror website Bloody Disgusting highlighting Farrell and Kidman’s portrayals, saying they “deliver their lines with a stilted coldness that sends chills up the spine.” The film currently holds a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 80% and continues Yorgos Lanthimos’ strange work with Farrell.
1 In Bruges
The 2008 black comedy crime film In Bruges is arguably Colin Farrell at his finest; he stars alongside Brendan Gleeson as Irish hitmen in hiding, with Ralph Fiennes as their infuriated boss. The duo perfectly portray a disgraced killer and his assassin friend who hide out in Bruges, Belgium as they wait out their troubles, with violence, mayhem, and hilarious hijinks ultimately ensuing from their stay. It was the opening night film at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival and garnered rave responses by critics and audiences. Farrell and Gleeson shine as the shameful pair, with USA Today declaring that “Brendan Gleeson is brilliant at Ken […] along with his partner in crime, Ray, played by Colin Farrell in probably his best performance.” For his performance, Farrell won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Musical and Comedy. In Bruges is one of the movie star’s most notable and absorbing roles to date and is a standout on his impressive resume, highlighting his comic sensibilities, his leading-man charm, and his ability to tap into and wade through a deep melancholy most actors can barely reach.
Colin Farrell’s tranformation into the Penguin for The Batman has been talked about for months, and new images have revealed more of Oswald Cobblepot.
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