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the film criticism aspect of cyber | by maryann johanson

daily list: 7 great movies by 8 great Irish actors

It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day, which can mean parades and soda bread and green beer, or it could mean a little DVD festival of great little movies you’ve never seen — or have forgotten about — starring eight of today’s biggest stars who hail from the Emerald Isle. Such as these:
1. Colin Farrell: Hart’s War. Farrell was just about nobody when he starred in the 2002 flick, a murder mystery set in a WWII German camp for American POWs. It’s a little bit cheesy, but in a nicely old-fashioned way, like this might have been made in black-and-white in 1954. [buy at Amazon]

2. Kenneth Branagh: Peter’s Friends. This 1992 flick, directed by and starring Branagh — as well as a slew of British favorites like Hugh Laurie, Emma Thompson, Stephen Fry, etc. — is kind of an Anglo Big Chill, and a highly entertaining one. [buy at Amazon]

3. Pierce Brosnan and Liam Neeson: Seraphim Falls. Easily among the best work of both of its stars, this revisionist Western is a haunting and spare chase movie across deadly landscapes. [buy at Amazon]

4. Gabriel Byrne: The End of Violence. Wim Wenders’s 1997 contemplation on our modern surveillance society features Bryne’s moody performance as a watcher who’s also being watched. [buy at Amazon]

5. Colm Meaney: The Snapper. In this sweet 1993 comedy from director Stephen Frears, Meaney plays a cantankerous dad who learns, to his horror, that his teenage daughter is pregnant. Family chaos ensues. [buy at Amazon]

6. Cillian Murphy: Breakfast on Pluto. Murphy shows one end of his extraordinary range as a happy-go-lucky transvestite in Neil Jordan’s delightful 2005 dramedy. [buy at Amazon]

7. Stephen Rea: Citizen X. In this 1995 made-for-HBO movie, Rea portrays a Russian cop in Soviet Russia hunting down a serial killer in a culture that disdains intellectual police work. [buy at Amazon]

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  • jenn

    Never seen Hart’s War, but for me the ultimate Colin Farrell movie is Tigerland. He hasn’t done it for me since that movie. Of course you wouldn’t guess he was an Irish actor from that flick.

  • MaryAnn

    You wouldn’t guess Farrell is Irish from most of his movies. *In Bruges* is the first time he’s playing an Irish character. (Well, he had a tiny cameo as an Irishman in *Veronica Guerin,* but I don’t think that counts.)

  • jenn

    Wow. I knew his biggest roles were anything but Irish…But only 1.5 Irish roles! That is a criminal underuse of one of the hottest accents on the planet.

  • Actually, Hart’s War came out in 2002, not 1992.

  • PaulW

    Mary Ann, please do yourself a favor and rent The Quiet Man some day. Essentially John Ford’s love letter to his Irish roots, and John Wayne at his most relaxed and even, yes, romantic. With Irishman Barry Fitzgerald and Irishwoman Maureen O’Hara (o that red hair of hers is no lie!).

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