Cillian Murphy has become one of Ireland’s greatest acting talents, after working his up through the independent cinema and stage scenes to starring in Hollywood blockbusters, pitting himself firmly among Hollywood’s elite, earning himself both respect and fame. His latest release see’s him star as one of two Czechoslovakian agents to attempt to assassinate SS officer Reinhard Heydrich, the main architect behind the Final Solution and third in command of the Nazi forces behind Hitler and Himmler.
With Anthropoid out on DVD & Blu-ray on now, it seems like the perfect time to take a look at the some of his best roles to date.
Batman Begins; The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises
In this triple whammy of the ultimate superhero films, Cillian Murphy shines as psychotic villain Dr. Jonathan Crane, aka Scarecrow. Having suffered a traumatic childhood, Scarecrow makes it his mission to expose people to their worst fears using his homemade recipe; Fear Toxin. The trouble for Scarecrow when he’s first introduced in Batman Begins, is there’s a new guy in town who has a craving for taking down Gotham’s most villainous. Murphy’s Scarecrow was the first true villain of the series, and was brought back for the final two installments in one way or another, continually proving to be an irritable thorn in the Caped Crusaders side.
After his disturbing portrayal of Scarecrow in Batman Begins, Cillian became somewhat of a regular for visionary director Christopher Nolan, who wanted him back for his move into Sci-Fi for his reality bending, head-spin of a film; Inception. Jamie plays Robert Fischer, a man who is in line to take over the extremely profitable family business, as his father lays on his death bed from illness. A group of dream-hackers lead by none other than Leonardo Dicaprio are hired to kidnap Cillian, and go deep inside his dreams to plant the idea of him deciding to turn down the family business in pursuit of his own path, leaving it open for their employer and business rival to disrupt. Murphy may play somewhat of a villain in the film, but he still manages to add great depth to his character, especially during the film’s emotional climax, as the walls of his dreams come crashing down.
28 Days Later
Danny Boyle transformed the hustle and bustle of central London into an epic wasteland for his revolutionary zombie horror film 28 Days Later, in which our protagonist Jim (played by Cillian) awakens into after a coma. Turns out, whilst he was asleep the world had broken into panic over a virus spreading rapidly, infecting anyone that comes in its path into crazy, flesh-craving zombies. Luckily, Jim manages to meet up with a rag-tag bunch of survivors and find safety with a group of soldiers in Manchester who claim to have the “answer” to infection. Mr Murphy might not be at the top of everyone’s list for who they’d want by their side in a zombie apocalypse, but after seeing this we’d have him any day!
Cillian isn’t short of having some impressive directors to call on if he’s in need of work, which included the late, legendary horror director Wes Craven (Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream). He recruited Murphy him for Red Eye – which sits just outside his comfort zone as a more mainstream thriller – following Lisa (Rachel McAdams), who is kidnapped by a him on a routine flight home. Threatened by the potential murder of her father, she is pulled into a plot to assist her captor in killing a politician. The film is at its most gripping and tense when our man is showing his truly sinister side, reading Lisa’s various escape attempts at every turn. One tip: if you see Mr. Murphy in line to board your holiday flight… run!
Breakfast on Pluto
Never one to back away from a challenging role, Cillian digs his teeth into the part of Patrick ‘Kitten’ Braden, a transvestite who flees Ireland during the politically tumultuous 1970s on a quest to find love and a place to call home. She eventually makes it to London where she becomes a prostitute and somehow get’s involved in an IRA bombing campaign. Cillian managed to pick up a Golden Globes nomination his powerful portrayal, whilst also raising awareness for an issue which is still very misunderstood to this day.
Starring opposite another Irish heart throb in Jamie Dornan (50 Shade of Grey, The Fall), the duo attempt to get close enough to Nazi SS Officer Reinhard Heydrich in order to assainate him, and disrupt his plans to begin his ‘final solution’ in the Prague. Murphy does a fantastic job of paying tribute to the original true story here, with an extremely detailed performance, whilst also bringing and air of gripping intensity to the WII drama. Not to mention his attempt at a Czech accent is absolutely faultless, and one he can add to an impressive list (see above). With the pressure mounting on the two spies, they know they have to get close enough to make an attempt on Heydrich’s life, or follow orders to end their own should they be captured…
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