While I’m not what you’d call a complete Cillianiac, I did want to contribute something toward my book-worm, movie addict, and turtle-lover friend, Novroz, and her blog celebration of the Irish thespian, Cillian Murphy, on his birthday. I think this actor is one of the more interesting and talented of today’s younger performers. Criminy… he was born in 1976!!! Damn, that makes me… 76 minus… feeling way too old. While I’ve not seen all of his work, what I have, I like. Anyway, the following is my list of his roles that have grabbed my attention and kept me coming back for more.
As in hero, that is…
This was my initial exposure to the guy. His haunting and gaunt features certainly stood out well in Danny Boyle’s apocalyptic zombie tale. That he could hold his own against another Irish player who happens to be one of the best character actors on the planet, Brendan Gleeson, told me Cillian was an up-and-comer.
If anything, director Danny Boyle sure knows how to deploy our man Cillian on film. He’s not you’d call classically handsome (though Novroz may disagree with me). However, he certainly doesn’t have the look of an everyday man, either. And those eyes… they seem to the carry the weight of humanity in this picture, don’t they? [btw, I recommend my friend J.D.'s recent look at this film and Will & Troy's wonderful movie commentary on it]
As only a villain can be…
I think this one remains one of the underrated villains of late. Filmmaker Wes Craven unquestionably knows his way around film rogues and miscreants. While his Jackson Rippner (one of the more unfortunate and obvious bad guy names some screenwriter ever thought up) isn’t Krug-like (Last House on the Left), he has an appeal and charisma that works extraordinarily well in this entertaining thriller.
This secondary villain role had the potential of being run over in the re-boot of the Batman franchise. I mean, Scarecrow (Dr. Jonathan Crane), though a part of the comic book hero’s rogue’s gallery, isn’t in my opinion as interesting as others in Marvel’s bad guy pantheon. Still, Cillian made him compelling — enough that he attracts a smile from the audience in his brief cameo in the larger sequel.
and The Just Plain Interesting
As in this guy is incapable of being someone boring…
Being a ‘character’ in what many wrote-off as a plot- or effects-driven film (they were mistaken, I might add), surely could have been a thankless chore. Nevertheless, Mr. Murphy went beyond that, though, here. While he’s, again, a secondary figure in the cast, his moments as Robert Fischer (and especially when he’s together with his on-screen father, the late Peter Postlethwaite) make you feel for the person (whether he’s dreaming or not).
Okay, in a contest between Olivia Wilde and Cillian Murphy, the camera (and I) is going to go with the beautiful woman. Every single time, boyo. But, I daresay in this, another of his cameos (this time uncredited), you can’t help but spot and go to him in the scene — even if he’s morphed into a totally different personality. And you just can’t teach that. It’s as simple as ABC, folks. You either have it, or you don’t… and Cillian does.