Still more lazy thoughts from this one…

hAppy B-day, Cillian!

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.

The Good

As in hero, that is…

28 Days Later

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]

The Bad

As only a villain can be…

Red Eye

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.

Batman Begins (and The Dark Knight cameo)

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).

TRON: Legacy

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.


12 Responses to “hAppy B-day, Cillian!”

  1. Novroz

    love your post so much. it is a nice way to praise the man.

    although I think he is the most gorgeous man on earth…I do realize he doesn’t have the look that up to everyone’s liking 😉

    Did you know that Cillian can choose to anyone he likes to be in Inception? except for Leo’s role. He could get wider exposure if he chose JGL’s role. But he chose the one he thought to be challenging.

    will put an excerpt of this wonderful post in my round up post. Thank you for participating, Michael.


    • le0pard13

      He’s an extraordinary performer, Novroz. And that’s a great info tidbit about CM and Inception. I didn’t know that. You put together a fine tribute. Thanks so much for inviting me to contribute, my friend.


  2. Happy 35th Birthday Cillian Murphy « Polychrome Interest

    […] 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. (Read the full post) […]


  3. J.D.

    Excellent tribute to this fantastic character. Count me as a big fan of his work. Even in a generic film like RED EYE he brings a lot to the table and actually made it worth sitting through! I also really enjoyed him in the Danny Boyle films where I think he’s really been giving a chance to cut loose and really show his considerable talents.


    • le0pard13

      Great to hear, J.D. I agree with you about Red Eye. IIRC, Rachel McAdams got a lot of buzz for it. But looking back, it’s Cillian as the villain that makes it worth revisiting. And I want more CM and Danny Boyle collaborations! Thanks.


  4. rtm

    Wonderful tribute, Michael. I love how you break his roles into sections… lovely. Oh, I forgot to mention about his glasses look in Tron: Legacy, he looks even better w/ em than as Jonathan Crane!


    • le0pard13

      Yeah, he did have an uber-cool look in TRON: Legacy. I really enjoyed reading your contribution, too. Thank you for your kind words, rtm.


  5. Ronan

    Nice post le0pard. Didn’t know Cillian was in Tron. He is such a versatile performer, he never surprises me because he always surprising… if that makes any sense 🙂 What he needs is a leading role, a vehicle. Then the Oscars will follow.


    • le0pard13

      Yes, it does make sense for this performer. I agree, too, with your assessment that he only needs a vehicle role to put him on everyone’s radar. Thanks for your comment, Ronan.


  6. Will

    Thanks for the shout out!

    Check out Murphy in Breakfast on Pluto. Great performance as a transgendered Irish kid.


  7. Evelyn

    Novroz, I read your letter to Cillian, and love him for all the reasons you list. I also think he’s the most gorgeous man on screen, and off. I fell in love with him as Damien, and have seen some other films he played in, but still hold onto “The Wind That Shakes The Barley” as my favorite. I love so much about this movie but when him and Shanaid (Orla Fitzgerald) are alone and he moves in closer to her, and removes her head scarf and looks at her the way he does, I just melt. It’s truly my favorite all time movie as it’s chock full of truth on so many levels.
    When I read his interviews I love him all the more for being so sound, and grounded in who he is and in what he believes. I love how he’s not easily swayed to conform to the Hollywood scene. I’m so proud of him for living his own convictions. I so understand why he doesn’t like photo-shoots as so many who do them…don’t do his person justice. Although he does photograph nicely, it’s more like the photographer just wants a name, and some fame for taking his picture. I have him on my desktop and change the picture every once in awhile. I can look at him for long periods of time, as he truly captivates me. At times I can feel him in some of those photos. I like him best in the more serious characters, as I think he is a deep person, with many sides, and when he acts I’m convinced he brings out some of who he really is. I just adore Cillian, and was so glad to see that someone else really gets him. I liked his part in Inception but really thought he looked so thin, much thinner then I’ve come to see him. His dedication, and commitment to his work and family speak volumes in this day and age. I hope he never changes but just grows wiser and better in all he does with his work and family.
    By the way yesterday I watched “Reservation Road with Jennifer Connelly, and although I’m not familiar with her as an actress I found that she resembled Cillian very much, and so I went and read her bio and found lots of similarities. If you don’t know this actress check her out and let me know what you think. Just take your time and really look at her, I’m sure you’ll see it. I’d love to see them play in something together Thanks again for writing such a beautiful piece to Cillian on his 35th birthday. I’ll be on the lookout for this years birthday greetings. By the way the fella who plays Teddy in TWTSTB…what is his name? P Delaney or
    L Cunningham?



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