Colin Farrell is only 46 years of age, but he already feels like he has had a career twice that length. Debuting at the turn of the century, he became a known commodity and a tabloid fixture at about the same time, quickly transferring early notoriety into big budget movie stardom.
As he aged, though, he became choosier with his projects, and in turn better known for his professional rather than personal life. A run of intriguing indie movies and supporting roles have seen Farrell complete the transformation into a performer with real Hollywood leading man gravitas.
Each of these periods has seen Farrell in some fantastic parts, with the actor altering his approach with age and with director, but always bringing intensity, charisma, and humanity to any given role. His stock as a thespian has likely never been higher; while he has surprisingly never been nominated for an Oscar, that’s almost certain to change this year.
From early glory as a young man, to his redemption years and the films in which he’s clearly just having a blast, these are the finest moments of Farrell’s estimable career - which, on current form, is likely to only get better.
10. Phone Booth - Stu Shepard
In the early ‘00s, Farrell proved a good luck charm for mercurial director Joel Schumacher. Their second collaboration, in particular, played to the actor’s strengths as a fresh, young performer with the swagger and presence required to carry a film almost single handedly.
The enjoyable if instantly dated Phone Booth casts Farrell as conniving publicist Stu Shepard, an amoral philanderer about to answer for his misdeeds. After using a public phone, the device rings, and he decides to answer. On the other line is a sniper (Keifer Sutherland) with his sights trained on Stu, promising to kill the man if he doesn’t admit his sins to his wife and the woman with whom he’s carrying on an affair.
Farrell is ideally suited for the role at this point in his career. The brashness and the arrogant swagger come naturally, but given the time, he’s able to find the humanity in Stu and make him a character capable of change, deserving of a second chance.
It’s a challenging part, one that demands intense focus and measured performance, and he delivers well. The movie is smart enough not to stick around and the conceit feels even more flawed now than it did in 2022, but as a vehicle for the young performer, it’s ideal.