5 Performances That Prove Colin Farrell Can Handle “True Detective”

If you haven’t heard by now, then you need to extricate yourself from whatever human-sized boulder you’re living beneath and also reconsider your life’s priorities because there’s been big casting news on True Detective: Colin Farrell, the subject of an ever a-churning rumor mill for months now, has confirmed his participation in the second season of the instantly-excellent crime series.

Now before you go all “The dude from Alexander is doing whaaaaaat?” let’s just pause and reflect.  The fact of the matter is this: while Matthew McConnaughey solidified his McConnaissance with his career-defining turn as Rust Cohle, I’m not sure anyone out there could have predicted the heights he would achieve over the course of that transcendent first season.  Simply put, he blew us all away, but there were glimmers of his potential peppered throughout his career–including a personal favorite performance in the Bill Paxton directed horror thrilled Frailty–that the myriad rom coms obfuscated.  I’m going to wager a bet that, if we parse through Farrell’s career closely enough, we’ll find five performances that should reassure us that maybe, just maybe, the dude can pull it off.  Also, let’s be honest, guy knows his way around a stiff drink, so he seems like an ideal successor to Rust’s beer can origami expert. Just sayin’.

Shall we?


Fright Night (2011)

In this way-better-than-it-had-any-right-to-be horror remake, Farrell plays vampire neighbor Jerry in what might be the most gleeful performance of his career.  Watching Jerry’s mask of complacent suburbanite charm slip to reveal the cold-blooded killer beneath emerged as one of the film’s highlights.  If Farrell throws himself into his True Detective role with this kind of abandon, I’m sure he’ll be able to–ahem–sink his teeth into it. #vampirepuns #vampiresrpeople2


Tigerland (2000)

This overlooked little flick is anchored by a commanding performance from Farrell as he takes his character, Pvt. Roland Bozz, from charismatic leader to cynical soldier contemplating going AWOL.  What makes this film work (other than the fact that director Joel Schumacher actually got out of his own way long enough to shoot an actual movie) is how Farrell handles the character’s contradictions and darker inclinations, both of which should serve his new TD character quite well.


In Bruges (2008)

In this inky black comedy from writer-director Martin McDonagh, Farrell plays hitman Ray, stuck in the much-detested locale of Bruges, Belgium, as he awaits orders from his boss.  Farrell handles the quippy, snarky dialogue with aplomb but also more than carries his own during the film’s shifts into shockingly brutal violence and action.  He intuits the beats of his character perfectly here, imbuing this flawed character with an almost unfathomable likability and charisma.  Sound familiar?


Crazy Heart (2009)

Farrell can even rein it in a little, as evidenced by his subtle turn as Tommy Sweet in the Jeff Bridges-lead Crazy Heart.  An acolyte of Bridges’ Bad Blake (#accidentalalliteration), Farrell’s Tommy emerges  as a character who functions more to deepen our understanding of the protagonist than anything else, and in an ensemble like True Detective, it’s good to know that Farrell can retreat into the background when the occasion demands it and give his co-stars a chance to shine.  Plus, if his new role calls for it, Farrell has proven he can sport a ponytail if need be because country music stereotypes, duh.


Saving Mr. Banks (2013)

I’m an unapologetic fan of this movie, and I remember leaving the theatre with the surprising revelation that Farrell crushed it as Travers Goff, P.L. Travers’s disappointing (not to mention alcoholic) father.  Thanks to his performance, it became easy to see how a man could be both so misguided and so damn lovable at the same time, a man who somehow manages to wrangle trust from those he’s let down time and time again.  A character struggling against an onslaught of personal demons?  Check!


Well, there you have it, my defense of Colin Farrell–words, come to think of it, I never thought I’d say, let alone commit to print for posterity.  Let’s put it this way; I’m cautiously optimistic, but one thing’s for sure: if we give him the chance, Farrell might surprise us.  He certainly has the potential.

Also, time is a flat circle.  OK, bye!