[ed. note: With Colin Farrell set to play the spooky vampire next door neighbor in this weekend's horror comedy Fright Night, it's once again clear that the Irish actor has turned out to have one of the most interesting acting careers going today. He went from a breakout role in Joel Schumacher's Vietnam movie Tigerland in 2000 to the crucial mistake of dyeing his hair blond for Oliver Stone's Alexander in 2004, which led to generic performances in a string of generic big-budget movies. He then went on to recover by giving terrific performances in just about everything, from a small-scale Woody Allen crime movie to a raunchy summer comedy.
But with so many different Colin Farrell performances to choose from, how to you decide which is best? It's a debate that's been tearing the Cinema Blend staff apart, so we've decided to take the question to you guys. Starting today and running every day this week, we'll have our pitches for our favorite Farrell performances. Mack Rawden is kicking things off for us with a pick from this very year, standing up for Farrell's work in Horrible Bosses.]
Colin Farrell is both extremely handsome and extremely charming. I’d like to say otherwise, but I have eyes and I’ve seen the man talk. He’s like a Hustler-era Paul Newman or Broadway Joe Namath after the guarantee but before he hit on poor Suzy Kolber. His existence must be a debilitating slap in the face to ugly, annoying people, which is precisely why Farrell is so brilliant in Horrible Bosses. It’s like director Seth Gordon intentionally stripped away every Farrell-esque attribute apart from the blind confidence and told the actor to go to town.
Let’s face it: Bobby Pellitt is in Horrible Bosses for one reason, and that is to die. Like Fenster in The Usual Suspects, he’s a pawn used to make another character seem more scary and powerful. But just as Benicio del Toro milked every last second of his limited screen time to become one of the most memorable parts of the Academy Award-winning gem, Colin Farrell, through sheer outlandish force of will, takes his handful of scenes in Horrible Bosses and turns Bobby into the funniest and most engaging personality in a movie filled with absurd people. Sporting a Bill Murray Kingpin combover and a Miami-in-the-80s cocaine addition, Farrell zealously snorts every character flaw and relishes every heinous moment until his regrettable, douche bag, entitled prick is forcibly snuffed out. It’s not often you care enough about a side character to actively relish his end, but I don’t think anyone who saw Horrible Bosses didn’t at least give an abbreviated fist pump when that gun took the loathsome, tiger-loving fuck out of his misery.
Colin Farrell is a lead actor. His charisma and phone booth operating skills have earned him the right to take center stage, but in none of those more showy efforts has he ever delivered a higher hit ratio than in Horrible Bosses. Because he only appears for an abbreviated amount of time, he’s able to milk every single line for all it’s worth, suck the hilarity out of every facial gesture, all without pushing the role into full-blown caricature. The line between ridiculous human being and punching bag can be especially dicey in R-rated comedies, but Farrell has a great sense of when to push and when to reel back in. The result is an exaggerated and loathsome version of any Sharper Image-loving asshole we might know, and Colin Farrell's finest moment.
Which movie contains Colin Farrell's best performance?