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Every Colin Farrell Movie Ranked Worst To Best

Colin Farrell is one of our most versatile movie stars. He's got the acting chops of a true thespian, the looks of a classic leading man, the physical prowess of an action hero, a good sketch comedian's sense of humor, and a character actor's ability to disappear into any role. He as at home in nine-figure franchise entertainments as he is in experimental low-budget indies, and he takes adaptations of comics and children's books just as seriously as nineteenth-century Swedish plays. And nobody can play a cop or a robber quite like Colin Farrell. 

Farrell's journey to silver screen stardom began in Castleknock, Ireland, where he was the fourth and youngest child of a professional footballer. He tried following in his father's footsteps, but he didn't have his dad's skill or dedication. Anyway, he was always more interested in the entertainment industry. Farrell even tried out for a boy band before he decided to study acting. 

During his time at the Gaiety School in Dublin, Farrell landed a role on a British television series, "Ballykissangel." Within the year, he'd been cast in his feature film, 1999's "The War Zone." More than two decades later, Colin Farrell is still headlining projects large and small, sometimes in the same week. While a lot of focus lately has been on the HBO Max series about his "The Batman" character Penguin, Farrell's fans can always enjoy his diverse catalog of films. 

47. Artemis Fowl

It's hard to find a person who liked "Artemis Fowl." Disney's 2020 attempt at starting a new franchise based on the popular young adult book series managed to anger fans of the novels by poorly adapting the source material. It also alienated those unfamiliar with that source material by being almost unimaginably boring and difficult to follow for a children's story about fairies, dwarves, goblins, and trolls.

"Artemis Fowl" is essentially a magical mystery about a villainous boy genius whose father (Farrell) has been kidnapped. He and his bodyguard-slash-butler discover that Mr. Fowl has apparently stolen a priceless magical artifact, which is the entry point for Artemis to leave his world for the novel's more fantastical one.

This dreadfully bad movie, directed by Kenneth Branagh, was moved straight to Disney+ near the start of the pandemic. However, that may have been a kindness if it meant that fewer people saw it. Farrell's reputation is preserved by the mere fact that he's barely in it. Sadly, the same cannot be said for Dame Judi Dench, who makes a grating vocal choice and gives the worst performance of her legendary career — possibly even worse than "Cats," according to The Guardian.

46. American Outlaws

2001's "American Outlaws" was supposed to introduce Colin Farrell to the world as a true movie star, heading up what was meant to be a playfully anachronistic, testosterone-addled revival of the Western. Instead, it was the first major flop of his career, earning nearly unanimous negative reviews for the film as a whole and the cast's cheesy acting.

Farrell is Jesse James, the Confederate leader of the James-Younger Gang, which -– in this particular episode of his legend -– is trying to fight back against railroaders bent on usurping their Missouri property. However, the plot isn't important. "American Outlaws" is an excuse to show off a shirtless Farrell as he shoots guns and woos women as aggressively as its PG-13 rating will allow. Its tagline was, "Bad is good again." Unfortunately, that doesn't hold true for this misfire of a movie that, criminally, treats its very capable leading man as little more than a beefcake. 

45. Winter's Tale

One look at Colin Farrell's film credits reveals that the actor with the bad boy reputation has a soft spot for romance and fantasy. "Winter's Tale" -– inspired by the 1983 novel of the same name –- ranks among his least successful efforts in those categories. However, the problem lies as much with the choice to adapt the book (which is not well-suited to visual interpretation) as it does with the clumsy filmmaking.

A plot summary of "Winter's Tale" sounds too preposterous to be real. When infant Peter's parents are denied passage through Ellis Island because of their tuberculosis, they put their baby on a model ship and set him sailing to American soil, where he ends up being raised by a demon played by Russell Crowe. Will Smith also appears as Lucifer. In one of Farrell's many roles as a loveable thief, his adult Peter wants to leave behind his life of crime for — Florida? However, when his guardian angel (a white Pegasus) suggests he rob just one more house, he inadvertently falls in love with its sickly resident (Jessica Brown Findlay). Things get more ridiculous from there, with plot points that involve poisoning, amnesia, and immortality.

Variety's Justin Chang called first-time director Akiva Goldsman "out of his depth" but (as has become a pattern) commended Farrell's acting in a project that's otherwise embarrassingly bad.

44. Ava

Colin Farrell most frequently plays cops and robbers — through his robbers are often in the right and his cops are sometimes on the wrong side of the law. "Ava" represents the worst of his outings as the bad guy, no thanks to a too-slight plot and a production hampered by the public wave of #metoo scandals when news broke that its director had been charged with domestic violence, as reported by The New York Times

Jessica Chastain is "Ava," a recovering alcoholic and assassin who can neither manage her personal nor her professional life. Her sister is dating her ex-fiancé, who still has a secret gambling problem. Her handlers think she's a liability, and she suspects someone has put a hit out on her. Farrell costars as Simon, the big boss who wants her dead. John Malkovich, Common, and Geena Davis also appear, but the sum of this spy thriller is much less than one would expect, given the quality of its parts.

43. Total Recall

This 2012 film is a remake of director Paul Verhoeven's 1990 classic starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sharon Stone. It plugs Colin Farrell and Kate Beckinsale into the roles of Douglas Quaid and his wife Lori, and it changes the setting from Mars to Earth. Farrell is fine as the hero and the visuals demonstrate a technological step up, but the movie doesn't do enough to distinguish itself from the original to justify its own existence.

Both films use a short story by Philip K. Dick as their foundation. Our protagonist recalls –- through a series of sci-fi-heavy plot mechanics — that he's not just an average Joe but a secret agent for the resistance who had his memories suppressed by the opposition. This news throws into question everything he thought to be true about his marriage, his friends, and the society he lives in. Farrell's "Total Recall" was never going to surpass Schwarzenegger's, but it isn't a complete disaster. It got mixed reviews and made back some of its money, then was largely forgotten about. Still, being deemed "unnecessary" by TimeOut is its own kind of stinging failure. 

42. Solace

2015's "Solace" was, for a time, intended to be a sequel to the 1995 phenomenon "Se7en" called "Ei8ght." However, after years in development limbo and after failing to secure the blessing of director David Fincher, it was re-retooled to be a standalone movie again. Anthony Hopkins is John Clancy, a psychic who teams up with an FBI agent (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) to hunt down a serial killer (Colin Farrell) whose victims all have one tragic thing in common.

That sounds like a pretty basic plot for a psychological thriller, and it is, which was the major reason for the film's poor reviews. "Solace" thinks it has a few tricks up its sleeves. Once the viewer knows them, it becomes clear why filmmakers wanted to shoehorn the movie into a "Se7en" franchise. But in practice, its twists and revelations come off as obvious and unsatisfying, making this a lesser addition to the paranormal crime canon.

41. Voyagers

This 2021 sci-fi movie has what must've seemed like a surefire premise to the actors who signed on. In 2063, after climate change has ravaged Earth, a habitable planet is discovered which could be the human race's salvation. The problem is, getting there will take 86 years. People who board the ship to colonize the planet will die en route, so to improve humanity's odds, 30 genetically engineered kids are bred via IVF and kept in a secluded, controlled environment until it's time for them to procreate.

When two voyagers realize they're being fed chemicals to keep them subservient, they rebel. What follows is a disappointingly executed tale of space madness supercharged with hormones that The Times compared unfavorably to "Lord of the Flies" mixed with bad romance YA. Farrell plays Richard, the leader of the mission who enjoys his status as their father figure. Ty Sheridan, Lily-Rose Depp, Fionn Whitehead, and Isaac Hempstead-Wright round out the cast of futuristic feral teenagers.

40. Dead Man Down

2013's "Dead Man Down" puts Colin Farrell back in the familiar role of the thug that we're rooting for. As per usual, he's much better than the movie he's in. Victor (Farrell) is out to get revenge on crime boss Alphonse (Terrence Howard) for the murder of his wife and kids.

Even small-time neo-noirs like this need more story than that, so "Dead Man Down" ups the ante with a romantic subplot. Victor's neighbor –- a sexy but disfigured woman named Beatrice — has dirt on him and wants some vengeance of her own. She tries to blackmail Victor into killing the drunk driver who caused her facial scars. Some antagonistic Jamaicans and Albanians are thrown in for flavor, but critics felt Victor's convoluted plan to take down Alphonse that holds the movie back, proving once again that it's harder than it looks to make a good crime thriller. 

39. Alexander

Colin Farrell almost certainly thought Oliver Stone's 2004 epic about Alexander the Great would be his "Gladiator" moment. The period piece from the prominent writer-director was expensive (its budget exceeded $150 million) and sweeping (it clocks in at about three hours long), with a star-studded cast. Alongside Farrell, that cast featured Anthony Hopkins, Angelina Jolie, Val Kilmer, Jared Leto, Rosario Dawson, and Christopher Plummer all decked out in gold armor and togas. Unfortunately, instead of pulling a Russell Crowe and winning his first Oscar (Farrell still hasn't even been nominated), he earned a Razzie nomination for the role that almost ruined his career.  

"Alexander" failed to conquer critics and audiences alike. The movie was dragged primarily for not having enough of a narrative arc and for being too dialogue-heavy for swords and sandals fare. However, the over-the-top acting was also a factor, and Farrell was –- for once -– deemed to have been miscast as the young, blonde Macedonian. Stone also hypothesizes that Alexander was bisexual, though MSNBC reported that the most explicit scene to that effect was cut from the theatrical version, per Digital Spy. Stone went on to release several subsequent edits of "Alexander" that were more in line with his original vision, and the film has been reclaimed by critics such as Peter Sobczynski of RobertEbert.com.

38. The Recruit

Al Pacino and Colin Farrell have similar skillsets as actors, so it should have been an absolute pleasure to watch them play off each other in this 2003 spy thriller. Though try their darnedest (Farrell slightly more so than Pacino), this would-be dynamic duo can't make more out of the script than is there.

The recruit in question is a computer genius with attitude, James Clayton (Farrell), whose father died in a mysterious plane crash. A supposed CIA higher-up named Walter Burke (Pacino) claims Clayton's dad was a member of the agency and tries to entice the recent grad to join.

Clayton doesn't entirely trust Burke but eventually takes the bus ride to 'the farm,' the CIA's secret training headquarters. He and other candidates are made to endure rigorous and stressful tests of their mental and physical fitness for the job, some of which they can't distinguish from reality. When he comes up short in one such trial, he begins to doubt what he's been told about his initiation and the CIA's mission. Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly described "The Recruit" as "one of those thrillers that delights in pulling the rug out from under you, only to find another rug below that," but the twists work better in theory than they do on screen.  

37. Daredevil

2003's "Daredevil" was released into the superhero void between the Tim Burton "Batman" movies and the Marvel Cinematic Universe proper, when Hollywood didn't really know what to do with comic book adaptations. Ben Affleck is Matt Murdock, the blind attorney by day who suits up and uses his heightened remaining senses to fight crime by night. Matt falls for Elektra (Jennifer Garner), but their relationship is complicated by the fact that they're both deadly combatants with ties to New York City's criminal underground.

It's fitting that Colin Farrell should show up in the most organized crime-heavy of the superhero movies, given his predilection for the genre. Here, he's Bullseye, one of Kingpin-posing-as-businessman Wilson Fisk's assassins with a reputation for accuracy (and a really distracting brand of his namesake on his forehead). "Daredevil" isn't as awful as some remember but it misses the mark by being overstuffed yet underdeveloped, especially when compared to the much more competent wave of Marvel movies and TV series that succeeded it.

36. Pride and Glory

2008's "Pride and Glory" is another Colin Farrell vehicle set in the world of law enforcement, but this time, the boys in blue are the good guys and the bad guys. Jon Voight is Francis Tierney, Assistant Police Chief of Precinct 31 and the patriarch of a family of NYPD officers that includes his sons, Ray and Franny (Edward Norton and Noah Emmerich) and his son-in-law Jimmy (Farrell). When four of Tierney's men wind up dead after a drug bust, he puts Ray in charge of the investigation and of bringing whoever was responsible to justice. 

That investigation quickly turns up evidence of systemic corruption which splinters the Tierney family, as each officer has his own personal sense of right and wrong. A better version of "Pride and Glory" could have been intense and thought-provoking. Instead, critics felt that this cop drama was compromised by too many unlikable characters, a dependence on gratuitous violence, and a predictable resolution. 

35. Ask the Dust

In novel form, John Fante's 1939 semi-autobiographical "Ask the Dust" uses its Depression-era romance between a starving writer and a waitress to (mostly effectively) interrogate things like poverty, religion, ethnicity, gender dynamics, and the viability of the American Dream. Translated to film, however, its themes feel a bit shallow and past their sell-by date in 2006.

Farrell is Arturo Bandini, a barely surviving Italian-American wannabe novelist who takes up residence in the slums of 1930s Los Angeles. His ambitions outweigh his self-confidence and commitment, so he wastes away his time in a café where he meets Camilla (Salma Hayek), the Mexican server girl who works there. The two embark on a passionate but contentious affair, even though neither is what the other really wants in a partner. Camilla had hoped to marry a more affluent white man, and Arturo can't get over his ego or Catholic guilt.

"Ask the Dust" is erotic, tragic, and evocative of its particular time and place, but it doesn't have a grander purpose. It's also a rare underwhelming Farrell performance and is one of his least seen films.

34. S.W.A.T.

2003's "S.W.A.T." was Farrell's first big hit as a leading man, and it remains the highest-grossing film in which he stars (he fills supporting roles in his other high-earners like "Minority Report," "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," and "The Batman"). "S.W.A.T." puts Farrell back in uniform, this time as Jim Street, a former Navy SEAL and turned LAPD officer who gets demoted when he won't snitch on his partner (Jeremy Renner) after a hostage situation is mishandled.

Enter Sergeant Hondo (Samuel L. Jackson), a veteran himself who promotes Street to his elite team. In only their second mission, they're tasked with transporting a dangerous prisoner (Olivier Martinez) who has offered a $100 million reward to anyone who can spring him from custody. That brings out LA's worst elements, including someone who seems to have inside knowledge of their tactics. "S.W.A.T." –- which is loosely based on a 1970s TV series –- isn't trying to be much more than an adrenaline-fueled ride, which is reflected in its average reviews.

33. Cassandra's Dream

Even in a Woody Allen movie, Colin Farrell gets himself caught up in another crime-gone-wrong.

Ian (Ewan MacGregor) and Terry (Farrell) are two working-class South London brothers who look up to and envy their wealthy uncle Howard (Tom Wilkinson). Ian lusts after an actress and wants to invest in real estate. Terry gets into debt betting on dogs at the track. The best they can do is to get a good deal on a boat, which they name Cassandra's Dream — a reference from Allen that presumably relates to Cassandra of Greek mythology, whose prophecies are never heeded and thus bring bad luck.

When they run out of money for their endeavors, they ask Howard for a loan. He agrees but confesses that he's in legal trouble of his own and can only provide them with the money if they take out his former associate, who is about to testify against him. Ian and Terry aren't altogether great guys, but they aren't natural killers either. "Cassandra's Dream" divided critics; Richard Brody of The New Yorker called it one of Allen's best movies, but the general critical consensus places it as one of the problematic prolific writer-director's lesser efforts.

32. London Boulevard

William Monahan (Academy Award winning screenwriter of "The Departed") takes his first stab at directing with this stylish thriller, which plays like a cross between "The Bodyguard" and any one of Farrell's myriad other crime capers. 2010's "London Boulevard" follows Mitchell (Farrell) after he's just finished serving out a prison sentence. We don't know what for, but now that he's out, every character in "London Boulevard" seems to want to broker his services.

His old gang is eager to welcome him back into the fold, though there's an intimidating new boss (Ray Winstone) calling the shots. Mitchell — your standard handsome criminal with a heart of gold — is more interested in keeping an eye on his unstable sister, saving women from being raped, and trying to help his homeless friend fend off violent soccer hooligans. This all leads to an opportunity to work for a famous actress named Charlotte (Keira Knightley), who is looking for someone to protect her from the paparazzi. "London Boulevard" has a slick aesthetic and enough good actors to make it watchable, but its plot gets too crowded when Mitchell's family life, love life, and life of crime all collide, leaving critics hoping for more.

31. Hart's War

This 2002 military drama was, after "American Outlaws," Farrell's second box office bomb in a row, though it's not necessarily as bad movie as its poor ticket sales suggest. "Hart's War" stars Farrell as Thomas Hart, a young Lieutenant captured by Germany during the Battle of the Bulge. He's sent to a prison camp where the more senior Colonel William McNamara (Bruce Willis) suspects him of having given up sensitive information to the enemy after having been tortured for three days. McNamara values duty to country above all else and clearly doesn't care for the new prisoner. 

"Hart's War" was a fairly big-budget, anticipated adaptation of a novel, but unclear advertising likely led to a lack of audience engagement. After its action-packed opening set pieces, "Hart's War" evolves into a different kind of war movie — one that plays more like a legal thriller and social justice story. When a Black soldier (Terrence Howard) is accused of murdering a racist sergeant in the barracks, McNamara assigns Hart (a well-to-do lawyer by trade) to defend him in what seems like a losing case, though Hart senses something is amiss. 

30. Dumbo

Disney's live-action remakes haven't come close to matching the magic of the animated originals. But they continue to get bodies into theater seats, not to mention subscribers to streaming services, so the Mouse House keeps making them. Tim Burton's "Dumbo" was perhaps best positioned to improve upon its predecessor in at least some respects — namely, the chance to replace the racist crow characters that USA Today notes now warrant a disclaimer on Disney+. The final product was, again, passable and unnecessary.

The 2019 version "Dumbo" gives the elephant a human family in an attempt to stretch out its featherweight plot. Colin Farrell is Holt Farrier, an equestrian who came back from World War 1 with an amputated arm. As he can no longer ride, he becomes an elephant trainer. His son and daughter, Milly and Joe, are still mourning the loss of their (practically contractually obligated to be dead) mother when the big-eared calf is born. The kids take to Dumbo like, well, an elephant to water. But this remake can't fill its longer runtime, and critics agreed that "Dumbo" never gets the emotional liftoff it needs.

29. Miss Julie

It's probably better to think of this 2014 adaptation of August Strindberg's "Miss Julie" as a filmed adaptation of a play instead of an actual movie. There's very little filmmaking here; the project lives and dies entirely on the strength of its three performances. Jessica Chastain is Miss Julie, the beautiful but tempestuous daughter of a baron who's dangerously approaching spinsterhood as she wastes her way through suitors. Samantha Morton is Kathleen, her humble and religious cook. Farrell is John, her father's valet (who is, importantly, betrothed to Kathleen and -– he claims –- in love with Julie) with aspirations beyond a life in service.

The New York Times notes that the stage version of "Miss Julie" is a seminal work about class, gender, and mental health from the 1880s that continues to resonate today. The film version gives Chastain and Farrell more than two straight hours to act their faces off as Julie and John vie for power. However, despite their best efforts, critics found the bleak tale told by "Miss Julie" to feel overlong and stale, trapped behind the lens of the camera.

28. Miami Vice

It's a wonder that "Miami Vice" exists at all. Slate notes that Michael Mann's 2006 film adaptation of his iconic 1980s TV show was a notoriously difficult production, which is surprising considering how many things the film had going for it. After all, Mann and Jamie Foxx had worked well together on "Ali" and "Collateral." Meanwhile, Colin Farrell was at the height of his stardom, having just headlined "S.W.A.T.," his first $100 million grosser. "Miami Vice" was a recognizable property, primed for a gritty reboot. Their stints as Crockett and Tubbs should've been a cakewalk to the top of the box office.

However, in the time between preproduction and shooting, Foxx won an Oscar and wanted to revisit his contract. "Miami Vice" was thus plagued by script rewrites, not to mention unsafe conditions on location in the Dominican Republic, and -– to a lesser extent -– Farrell's own substance abuse crisis (the Irish Mirror reports that the actor checked into rehab immediately after the film wrapped). The resulting film, about the duo working undercover to disrupt drug smugglers, is an incoherent mess that's still better than it has any right to be, due to Mann, Foxx, and Farrell's talent, which can't help but shine through even in the worst of circumstances.

27. A Home at the End of the World

Michael Cunningham (author of "The Hours") adapts "A Home at the End of the World" from his novel of the same name, which draws on many of his familiar themes including grief, queer identity, and found family. The film opens with its main character as a nine-year-old in Ohio then flashes forward to his adult life in New York City.

In his youth, Bobby experiences compounding tragedies when he witnesses his older brother's gruesome death and then loses both parents. The wayward kid eventually gets taken in by a conservative family with a son his age named Jonathan, and Bobby both adds to and disrupts their dynamic.

As adults, Bobby (Farrell) and Jonathan (Dallas Roberts) reconnect in the East Village, where the latter is living as an openly gay man, but with a female domestic partner, Clare (Robin Wright) with whom he intends to have a baby. Bobby moves in, and again, his presence is a blessing and a curse. "A Home at the End of the World" is its own kind of heartbreaking love triangle. The book is better than the movie and Farrell was singled by Movie Views out for his excellent, against-type performance.

26. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

The curiously titled "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" is another bizarre, romantic, fantastical entry in both Colin Farrell and director Terry Gilliam's bodies of work. It contains several similarities to Farrell's "Winter's Tale" (the devil, immortality, and amnesia are all on the table here, too), but it's most remembered for being the final and incomplete performance of the late Heath Ledger. 

When Ledger tragically passed away at the age of 27, too many of his scenes had been filmed to cancel the production, but too few had been wrapped up to leave Ledger's role as it was. IndieWire reports that Gilliam retooled the story so that his character, Tony, could travel between realms and change forms. This allowed Gilliam to cast not one but three actors –- Colin Farrell, Jude Law, and Johnny Depp – as Ledger's replacements.

"The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" is the cautionary tale of the ringleader of a supernatural traveling show (Christopher Plummer) who gets conned into trading his daughter's soul to Mr. Nick (Tom Waits). Doctor Parnassus renegotiates his deal with the devil, and to keep his dear Valentina, he and his carnival barkers must win five souls for good before Mr. Nick can win them for evil. Those barkers, Tony and Anton (Andrew Garfield), compete for Dr. Parnassus's approval and for Valentina's affection. It's a salvage job, but one that critics found largely worthwhile.

25. Roman J. Israel, Esq.

This mediocre legal drama with its easy-to-poke-fun-at title earned Denzel Washington his eighth acting Oscar nomination. "Roman J. Israel, Esq." has good intentions but critics felt that the film expresses them a little too heavy-handedly. 

Washington is the title character, a socially inept (Entertainment Weekly notes that it's implied he's on the autism spectrum) civil rights lawyer with sturdy morals and a savant-like memory. He's working on a brief that will challenge the way plea bargains are used to get admissions of guilt when his partner and mentor dies. Another of the man's proteges, George Pierce (Farrell), offers Roman a job at his bigger, swankier firm. After being rejected elsewhere, he accepts Pierce's offer but feels frustratingly out of place among the fast-talking, ambitious, money-minded attorneys. 

Israel and Pierce initially disagree about how to do business, especially when one of their clients, who has been charged with murder, confides that he has information about the real killer. From there, what starts out as an interesting character study morphs into an okay thriller as Israel's idealistic convictions are tested by real-world situations and temptations. 

24. Triage

2009's "Triage" never found an audience for its timely and vitally important ideas. The film, which is based on war correspondent and author Scott Anderson's novel of the same name, tells the story of Mark Walsh, a rugged photojournalist who braves conflict in the Middle East and struggles with PTSD upon returning home. 

Mark (Farrell) and his photographer friend, David, head to Northern Iraq — somewhat against their concerned significant others' wishes — to expose Saddam Hussein's massacre of the Kurdish people. While there, Mark witnesses unspeakable atrocities. He comes back alone and injured, unable to process what's happened. His Spanish girlfriend, Elena, reluctantly enlists her grandfather (Christopher Lee) to help. He's a military psychologist, but he and Elena are effectively estranged due to his support of Franco during the Spanish Civil War. "Triage" is about the inhumanity of political violence and the toll it takes on both a single person and a whole nation.

23. Fright Night

Colin Farrell has long and varied filmography, but it's noticeably thin on horror and remakes. 2011's "Fright Night" is both: a winking update to a cult classic 1985 film about a boy who comes to suspect the worst about his new neighbor.

Charley (Anton Yelchin) and Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) notice that some of their peers have been disappearing without explanation since Jerry (Farrell) came to town. Ed has begun to theorize that Jerry is a vampire, which makes Charley question his friend's sanity. When Ed confronts Jerry, his suspicions are promptly confirmed. That leaves Charley, his mom (Toni Collette), his girlfriend, and a supposed vampire expert (David Tennant) to fight back against the supernatural hunk and set things right.

"Fright Night" didn't recoup much more than its budget in ticket sales, but most critics and viewers found it clever and thrilling, and Entertainment Weekly once again singled out Farrel for his better-than-it-needed-to-be embodiment of a vampire. 

22. The Gentlemen

Considering that Colin Farrell so often partners with the same directors repeatedly and that he gravitates toward dark comedies involving crimes gone haywire, it's shocking that he hadn't worked with one of the heavyweights in that cinematic category –- Guy Ritchie –- until 2019.

"The Gentlemen" is about Mickey (Matthew McConaughey), a poor but brilliant American who earned a Rhodes scholarship only to drop out of Oxford to build an illegal marijuana empire propped up by the British aristocracy. They need the extra income to keep their lavish lifestyles going. When we meet Mickey, he's ready to retire and is looking to sell off his lucrative business to the highest and most trustworthy bidder.

Farrell is only a supporting character, but The Ringer notes that he steals the movie with his hilariously unselfconscious performance as Coach, a guru figure to a team of designer tracksuit-clad MMA fighters and brazen robbers who call themselves the Toddlers. Guy Ritchie fans will get exactly what they want out of "The Gentlemen," which The Hollywood Reporter notes was on its way to being a hit before COVID and became one of the first films to experiment with early VOD release as a result. 

21. Veronica Guerin

The Irish Times notes that "Veronica Guerin" was Colin Farrell and Joel Schumacher's third joint project in as many years. It was also one of six movies in which a very busy Farrell appeared in 2003 alone, though he only pops up here in a cameo. The true-crime story premiered to disappointing box office numbers and mixed reviews, with Today highlighting Cate Blanchet's eponymous performance, which earned slightly higher praise than the movie itself.

Guerin was a reporter for Sunday Independent who uncovers the extent to which drug trafficking and addiction are affecting Dublin's work class population. She relies on junkies and low-level dealers as sources (of which Farrell plays one), and many of them lead her astray to protect themselves from the kingpin. As she gets closer to the top, she and her family become the target of threats (and worse). "Veronica Guerin" is a respectable homage to a real, relentless Irish journalist who wanted to spur change.

20. Intermission

This quirky crime comedy (which is definitely Farrell's niche) is set in Dublin and features some of the most reliable actors from across the pond. John (Cillian Murphy) breaks up with Dierdre (Kelly Macdonald) but almost immediately regrets it when she begins dating an older man and bank manager. He and a friend enlist local petty criminal, Lehiff (Farrell), to try and win Dierdre back and rob the bank. Unfortunately for John, the bank manager has a complicated love life, too, and the local police have been keeping tabs on the notorious Lehiff, which means his cynical plot won't be pulled off so easily. 

"Intermission" is told episodically, and its many characters (who vary from off-putting to reprehensible) with their intersecting backstories knock the plot off its course repeatedly. Critics compared it to "Love Actually" but with less sentimentality and more car chases and shoot-outs, which is both a good summary and a good advertisement for this irreverent and unapologetically Irish romp of a movie.

19. Ondine

This whimsical romance returns Colin Farrell to his native Ireland again, and this time, it shows off his homeland in all its misty, besweatered glory. "Ondine" is a half-down-to-earth, half-fantastical modern retelling of the myth of the seal woman, with some present-day social issues thrown in for good measure.

Farrell plays a fisherman nicknamed Circus who just so happens to catch an impossibly beautiful, nearly naked woman in his net. He decides to keep Ondine — or let her stay at his home, she seems happy about this arrangement, too, it should be noted. His infirm and wheelchair-bound daughter from his previous marriage, Annie, believes she could be a selkie, a shape-shifting creature from Celtic legend. As Annie researches selkies at the library, Circus and the mystery woman grow closer. Their budding love story is complicated by Circus's previous marriage and past substance abuse issues. Critics felt that "Ondine" enchantingly questions how luck, love, and personal choices affect the trajectory of our lives.

18. Phone Booth

"Phone Booth" — which brings Colin Farrell and Joel Schumacher back together for the second time — is a high-concept thriller told in real-time and in one location. It was a hit with critics and audiences, due in part to its co-stars, Kiefer Sutherland, who was headlining FOX's popular real-time action series, "24", and Katie Holmes, who'd risen to fame in "Dawson's Creek".

Farrell plays Stu, a playboy publicist with a wife and a girlfriend who don't know about each other. When he uses a phone booth to sneakily contact his mistress Pam (Holmes), a mysterious caller (Sutherland) who acts as both a terrorist and Stu's morality police, forces him to come clean to both women or be killed. Things get increasingly tense and high stakes as sniper fire begins to rain down and a S.W.A.T. team shows up to try and diffuse the situation. "Phone Booth" is a satisfying pressure cooker of a movie, but plot similarities to real-world events caused a problem in 2002 when Entertainment Weekly noted that the D.C. Sniper attacks postponed its release.

17. Horrible Bosses

Colin Farrell can be laugh-out-loud funny, but he's done few movies that fit squarely into the comedy category. 2011's "Horrible Bosses" –- which combines the sensibilities of "Office Space" and "The Hangover" — is one of them. Critics responded positively to this ensemble piece starring Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, and Charlie Day as three put-upon employees who can no longer stand to work for their insufferable and abusive workplace superiors. After venting to each other about their inescapable misery, they agree that the only way out is to murder their bosses, played by Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, and Colin Farrell.

On the advice of a consulting hitman (Jamie Foxx), they decide to murder each other's bosses to conceal their motives. Of course, novice killers are prone to mistakes, and it's the misperceptions and crossed wires that fuel most of the gags here. Farrell is having plenty of fun as Bobby Pellit, the shamefully entitled, incompetent, and coked-out son of the former CEO. He can keep up with the seasoned comedians, but Farrell's wit works slightly better in higher-minded projects.

16. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Whatever goodwill exists for "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" has more to do with the enduring popularity of "Harry Potter" than the quality of the movie itself. David Yates — who took the reigns of the franchise with "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" and never let go — adapts a fictional Hogwarts textbook into this somewhat ill-conceived idea for a prequel. Magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) travels to America to free one of its native magic creatures and accidentally involves himself in a political fight between MACUSA and No-Majs, which charts the origins of the wizards' equivalent of World War 2. 

"Fantastic Beasts" is a mixed bag (though it's certainly better than its successor, the incomprehensible "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald"), but Colin Farrell casts a very effective spell as Percival Graves. Graves is the deadly serious Director of Magical Security who can wield a wand with the best of them and looks dapper doing it. He's suspicious of Newt, dark wizards, and hateful humans, but it's clear to even the youngest Harry Potter fans that there's more to Graves than meets the eye. As our meek hero tries to collect his scattered creatures, Graves tries every trick in the book to stop him in his tracks. 

15. The Way Back

Not to be confused with the 2020 Ben Affleck basketball movie, 2010's "The Way Back" is Peter Weir's harrowing film about an escape from a World War 2 era Siberian prison camp. It draws loosely from Sławomir Rawicz's 1956 memoir about his time in a gulag and his 4,000-mile journey to freedom. 

Janusz (Jim Sturgess) is sentenced to 20 years in a labor camp, suspected of being a spy. The conditions are practically unlivable, so he conspires to break free with an engineer (Ed Harris), an actor (Mark Strong), a communist criminal (Farrell), and several other prisoners. Along their impossibly long route — which goes through the Himalayas and into India — they encounter more people in need, including a young Polish orphan played by Saoirse Ronan. Each time, they must assess whether they can trust the person or even afford to care for them as a member of their traveling party. "The Way Back" is part survival story, part political thriller, made even more engaging by strong performances and stunning cinematography. 

14. Saving Mr. Banks

This well-liked 2013 film tells the true story of Walt Disney's efforts to acquire the rights to "Mary Poppins" from author P.L. Travers. However, it employs flashbacks to tell the story it really wants to tell: that of Travers' childhood, which served as the inspiration for her beloved books. 

Disney (Tom Hanks) has promised his daughters that he will make "Mary Poppins" into a movie, though Travers (Emma Thompson) has been saying no for going on 20 years. With royalty money running out, she agrees to a deal in which she'll retain some creative control, but she still worries about what the studio will do to her characters. In particular, she's protective of George Banks, who is rooted in her experiences with her own father (Farrell). From him, she seems to have inherited her imagination and zest for life, but the adaptation process brings to the fore painful memories of his dysfunction, too. 

"Saving Mr. Banks" stays surface level, never delving into anything too dark about Disney or Hollywood, but critics nonetheless found it an enjoyable and interesting dip into literary and film history. 

13. Seven Psychopaths

Colin Farrell is consistently good, but he seems to access another level of talent when paired with writers and directors who have a strong vision and voice. Farrell frequently collaborates with his favorites again, and "Seven Psychopaths" reteams him with playwright-screenwriter-director Martin McDonagh, whose unique brand of edgy crime satires is a perfect fit for Farrell's acting toolbox. 

"Seven Psychopaths" was a well-received film featuring a story within a story where Farrell plays a sort-of avatar for McDonagh. Here, he's Marty, an aspiring screenwriter penning a script about seven killers, each with their own nickname and calling card. He bases the characters and the events on gossip he absorbs from his crooked friends, such as Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken, who steal dogs for a living. However, he gets more than he bargained for when he places an ad asking for killers to call in and share their experiences. The trio winds up with the Shih Tzu of a crime boss (Woody Harrelson), and things escalate in a way that will service Marty's screenplay but seriously threaten his safety. 

12. The Beguiled

"The Beguiled" is Sofia Coppola and Kirsten Dunst's second period piece together (the other being 2006's convention-breaking "Marie Antoinette"). This 2017 film is an adaptation of a 1966 novel and a remake of a 1971 film, and it won Coppola the best director prize (only the second time ever it went to a woman) at the Cannes Film Festival, though not without controversy. 

"The Beguiled" tells the story of the few women who remain at a girls school in Virginia in the final days of the Civil War. There's Miss Farnsworth (Nicole Kidman) and Miss Morrow (Dunst) plus five female students. When a wounded and apparently abandoned Union soldier (Farrell) stumbles upon them, they must decide whether to turn him in to the Confederacy or nurse him back to health. They split the difference and effectively imprison him and nurse him, all while vying for his affection. 

"The Beguiled" is a confidently made, pointed allegory about female sexuality and empowerment. However, IndieWire notes that Coppola came under fire for cutting a Black enslaved character from the narrative and for casting Dunst in as Miss Morrow, who is biracial in the book. 

11. The War Zone

Colin Farrell has appeared in multiple war movies, but Tim Roth's "The War Zone" isn't one of them — at least not in the traditional sense. This 1999 family drama adapted by Alexander Stuart from his own novel is veteran character actor Roth's directorial debut. More important to this list, "The War Zone" is Farrell's feature film debut in a small supporting role as a teen girl's new boyfriend. "The War Zone" is an extremely challenging watch, but it's worth it if viewers can stomach the subject matter, which involves gaslighting and incest. 

Sullen 15-year-old Tom lives with his dad, pregnant mom, and 18-year-old sister Jessie. When the family relocates from London to the countryside, Tom has trouble adjusting to life without his old routines and friends. Around the same time his mother gives birth to his new sister, Tom begins to suspect that something inappropriate might be happening between his father and Jessie. His eyes and common sense tell him one thing, but confirming his suspicions (much less doing something about them) isn't so simple. 

"The War Zone" is mostly interested in laying out how social dynamics (and the fear of upsetting them) prevent many victims from escaping abuse. Roth and the actors (Ray Winstone and Tilda Swinton) avoid exploiting the sensitive topic, and the film earned wide critical praise

10. Tigerland

Joel Schumacher's "Tigerland" marks the first time Colin Farrell received top billing. The film — about a training camp for soldiers on their way to Vietnam — impressed critics, though it failed to make much of an impression at the box office. Still, it served as an excellent showcase for the young actor, whose movie star career began in earnest after critics, including those at SF Gate, pointed to his portrayal of Private Roland Bozz, an anti-war draftee, as the best thing about the movie. 

Bozz wants no part in the conflict, which he and about half of the country knows is a lost cause. In his attempts to express himself politically and to skirt authority, he makes some friends and a name for himself as a leader. That puts him at odds with another soldier, Wilson, who is in every way Bozz's opposite and who torments the other recruits. Schumacher uses his pre-theatre of war setting to hypothesize about patriotism, heroism, and masculinity. Despite its harsh aesthetic and both simulated and very real moments of terror, "Tigerland" is an uncharacteristically subdued and lyrical look askance at our involvement in Vietnam. 

9. The New World

Terrance Malick's earthy yet ethereal retelling of the apocryphal legend of Pocahontas and John Smith debuted to a wide range of responses. Many reviews chided it for being rambling, boring, and too long. But those who liked it really liked it (including Roger Ebert, who gave it four stars), and it wasn't long before it underwent a critical reappraisal in popular culture, as noted by The Guardian. Besides its gorgeous cinematography and a mythical tone, "The New World" was lauded for Colin Farrell and Q'orianka Kilcher's naturalistic turns as the film's star-crossed lovers. 

This isn't Disney's "Pocahontas," to be sure. It loves nature just as much, but there are considerably more (and more realistic) instances of both physical intimacy and stabbing. More to the point, this for-grown ups version gets a little closer to the real story. The desperation of the Jamestown settlers and the completely understandable animosity and suspicion of the indigenous people is depicted with something approaching accuracy. The story keeps going once it becomes clear Pocahontas and Smith aren't meant to be. Christian Bale shows up as John Rolfe to see the legend through to its historical conclusion.

8. The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Yorgos Lanthimos co-wrote and directed this profoundly unsettling 2017 psychological family drama which Joey Keogh of Wicked Horror called "horror in its purest, most distilled form, freed from the shackles of jump scares or exposition." "The Killing of a Sacred Deer" — which is a modern retelling of an ancient Greek play — won best screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival and cemented Lanthimos' reputation as a master of disturbingly absurdist cinema. The film is the second collaboration between the Greek filmmaker and Farrell, who plays Dr. Steven Murphy, an Ohio heart surgeon with a wife (Nicole Kidman) and two kids. 

Steven feels compelled to take a young named Martin (Barry Keoghan) under his wing after learning his father died in a car accident. As Martin spends time with and gets to know the Murphy family, they begin to succumb to health problems for which there is no reasonable medical explanation. Beyond that, it turns out that Martin is aware of a secret from Steven's past that could threaten the stability of his home and career. Ultimately, Martin and his potentially supernatural powers call into question Steven's very understanding of the world as he knows it. 

7. The Batman

"The Batman" debuted to solid reviews and strong box office performance and is already ranking respectably high on most lists that aim to compare the various versions of the Caped Crusader. Robert Pattinson may have brought some subtle and appreciated differences to the character compared to Michael Keaton or Christian Bale, but what really sets Matt Reeves' film apart is his take on Gotham and its many villains. His gritty and soaking-wet detective story skews more realistic, as does Farrell's much less cartoonish portrayal of Oswald Cobblepot, despite pounds of prosthetics.  

Bruce Wayne and James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) spend the movie trying to decipher clues left in disturbing greeting cards by Paul Dano's Riddler. That leads them to a club run by Oz where Gotham's organized crime families and corrupt cops cut loose and conduct their business. This middle-management Penguin hosts the men in charge but clearly longs to be one. While "The Batman" has an ending that both works for it as a standalone film and sets up potential sequels, Farrell's storyline is left dangling to be resolved in series format on HBO Max

6. Crazy Heart

Here, Colin Farrell is the supporting character to Jeff Bridges' Oscar-winning lead role, but in the story, it's the other way around. "Crazy Heart" recounts the sad latter days of the music career of one Bad Blake, a former country-rock legend who is much worse for the wear after years of substance abuse and a string of ill-advised marriages. When he strikes up a May-December relationship with a single mother and reporter (Maggie Gyllenhaal), he has the incentive he needs to turn his life around. That involves being humble enough to open for Tommy Sweet (Farrell), Blake's old student whose star now outshines his own. 

Blake thinks he can get back on top if he records an album with Sweet, but the latter would prefer the former to stick to writing songs for him. "Crazy Heart" could've been another formulaic and overly sentimental movie musical, but critics felt that it was elevated by its restrained plot, lived-in performances, and genuinely good original music, including the Academy Award-winning song, "The Weary Kind". 

5. After Yang

Writer-director-editor Kogonada imagines a very particular, mildly dystopian world with "After Yang" but uses it to meditate on some pretty heavy themes. Here, Farrell is Jake, a white man (with a real thing for tea) married to a Black woman raising an adopted Chinese daughter. The film gives the impression that a war drastically altered geopolitical dynamics in the recent past. Income inequality still exists and people still rely mightily on technology. Against that backdrop, Jack purchases a refurbished robot named Yang to act as an older brother and cultural ambassador to his child. 

It's called "After Yang" because their companion malfunctions, which upsets the girl and poses a moral problem for the parents who must decide whether it is possible to fix him or necessary to replace him. What ensues is a story that's as much about the difference between man and machine as it is about the difficulty with which people maintain happiness and meaning in a cruelly ambivalent existence. For most of the run time, critics found Farrell to be an understated revelation, but "After Yang" boasts a phenomenal opening sequence that is anything but. 

4. Minority Report

"Minority Report" gave Farrell the chance to work with Steven Spielberg, an exciting opportunity for the actor who once told The Sun that he became interested in acting because of his love of "E.T." as a child. Spielberg's foray into techie noir gave Farrell his first of many roles as a lawman. Here, he plays federal agent Danny Witwer, a member of the recently-established precrime squad. Loosely based on Philip K. Dick's 1956 short story, "Minority Report" explores a near-future world in which psychic "precogs" predict and help prevent murders before they happen. The crime rate has fallen dramatically, but virtual reality prisons are full of people who haven't done anything wrong –yet. 

Tom Cruise stars as John Anderton, the head of the program who gets pre-accused of being about to kill a man he's never met and has no reason to want dead. That puts Anderton on the run, with Witwer, his one-time associate, now in pursuit. Critics found "Minority Report" thought-provoking, fast-paced, visually compelling, and well-acted. It holds up better than most twenty-year-old futuristic thrillers, thanks to Spielberg's foresight and confident direction. 

3. In Bruges

Martin McDonagh's "In Bruges" arguably makes the best use of Colin Farrell as a leading man, and the film won him a well-deserved Golden Globe for his efforts. This 2008 sleeper success was a hit with critics and can best be described as an existential crime comedy. One of the best aspects of the film was the fact that it gives Farrell the chance to show off his impressive range as Ray, an inexperienced hitman trying to reckon with his conscience. 

When Ray and his overseer, Ken (Brendan Gleeson), botch their mission, the boss (Ralph Fiennes) sends them to the city of Bruges to hide out and await further instruction. While in town, they make the acquaintance of a film crew, including an actor (Jordan Prentice) and a production assistant who also turns out to be a drug dealer and a thief. "In Bruges" is as horrific as it is hilarious as it is haunting. It contains gags and violence that seem to come out of nowhere, but the most shocking thing about it is the unexpected emotional depths it achieves.

2. Widows

Steve McQueen's 2018 heist drama was snubbed by the Oscars and underperformed at the box office, but it made off with the hearts of critics and audiences who took the time to see it. In an era when movies tend to fall into one of two categories –- arty or popcorn -– "Widows" was equal parts thoughtful and fun. It's a feat of ensemble casting led by a powerful central performance by Viola Davis and featuring top-notch work from Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Jacki Weaver, Carrie Coon, Liam Neeson, Robert Duvall, Daniel Kaluuya, Brian Tyree Henry and, of course, Colin Farrell.

When the wives of four gangsters get word that their husbands have been killed in a job gone wrong, the titular widows have little choice but to finish the heist on their own. To repay their husbands' debt to a notorious crime boss, they must steal five million dollars from the home of Jack Mulligan (Farrell), the latest in a family line of shady career politicians. Of course, things don't go according to plan. Colin Farrell isn't the star of this, one of his most acclaimed films, but the twistiness in "Widows" hinges on him — even if his Chicago accent comes and goes.

1. The Lobster

"The Lobster" marks Farrell's first collaboration with Yorgos Lanthimos, and it joins him with other will-be two-time Lanthimos collaborators, Rachel Weisz and Olivia Colman, as well as John C. Reilly and Ben Whishaw. This dark, dry-witted, and deeply strange satire about societal pressure to couple up won the Jury Prize at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and won over more viewers than one might expect, given its bizarre premise.

Farrell plays David, a man whose wife has just left him, who appears to have been sentenced to some sort of punishment at a non-descript hotel. In this woodsy, homespun version of a dystopian future, single people must find mates within 45 days or they'll be permanently transformed into an animal of their choosing. The movie gets its title from the fact that, should he fail, David wants to be a lobster. If he can make a match with one of the women present at the establishment (in particular, one with chronic nosebleeds), he might avoid a future as a crustacean. 

Admittedly, it sounds borderline twee, but it lured critics in with its quaint, oddball charm, resulting in Farrell's best-reviewed film. But, as is so often true of Farrell's work, there's something shocking and subversive just waiting to burst through all the surface tension. "The Lobster" represents the most fully-realized artistic vision in Farrell's filmography, and he's in almost every frame, making the insane magical realism just as believable as David's awkwardness and loneliness.