Colin Farrell is a powerhouse of talent and versatility. He manages to wave his Irish identity within a wide array of roles to give it an extra push, filling each character’s shoes with effortless ease. Having been exposed to black-and-white films from auteurs like Alfred Hitchcock and the like from a very young age, Farrell decided to try acting to get rid of his substance abuse habits. To him, acting was never “therapeutic” – it was massively challenging, “hard and frustrating”.
After debuting on television in a BBC drama, Farrell made his feature film debut in Tim Roth’s directorial debut, the 1999 film The War Zone. In 2000, he bagged his breakthrough role in Joel Schumacher’s Tigerland, which catapulted him to fame and critical acclaim. Despite a few commercial failures, he soon starred in hits like Phone Booth, The Recruit, S.W.A.T. etc.
This Golden Globe-winning actor was praised for his intensity and calibre for films like The New World, Intermission, Ask the Dust, Cassandra’s Dream etc. He has frequently collaborated with directors like Martin McDonagh, Joel Schumacher and Yorgos Lanthimos.
With Lanthimos, Farrell has been able to bring out the best of himself, fitting in with Lanthimos’ dark and satirical vision that requires deadpan expressions. Following their successful stint on The Lobster, they worked together on The Killing Of A Sacred Deer. Farrell recently starred in Matt Reeves’ 2022 film The Batman alongside Robert Pattinson.
While some of Farrell’s films are now streaming on Netflix, one of his most disturbing works deserves a special shout.
Directed by Lanthimos, the 2017 film The Killing Of A Sacred Deer starred Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Alicia Silverstone, Barry Keoghan, Sunny Suljic, Raffey Cassidy etc.
Farrell stars as a skilful and successful cardiothoracic surgeon, Steve, whose somnophilia is indulged by his wife. He meets the elusive Martin, who has lost his father in a car accident and leads a sympathetic shoulder to cry on.
After introducing Martin to his family, things slowly begin going downhill as Martin’s ulterior motives are revealed. Since Martin lost his father to a casualty caused by Steve’s callousness in the operation theatre, he decides to get back at Steve and his family by first crippling his children physically and then taunting them emotionally.
Visually striking, the film is a surreal exploration of life and death that takes a fascinating spiritual route that quickly becomes extremely disturbing. Lanthomos’ idiosyncratic genius shines through this eerie, harrowing narrative.
Farrell was allegedly nauseous after reading the script, which explains how ominous and uncomfortable the film can get via the omnipresent cold monotone and the claustrophobic tension.
Extremely unsettling, the film deserves to be watched to revel in the brilliance of the directors and the actors, especially Farrell and Keoghan.