Cillian Murphy: Get to Know the New Oscar Winner’s Work

by The Technical Blogs


The first thing you notice about Cillian Murphy is his eyes. As a young filmgoer, I clocked them in the historical drama “Girl With a Pearl Earring” (2003), when he was romancing Scarlett Johansson. But over the years I came to find myself more and more taken by the rarity of Murphy’s transmutable talent as he tackled everything from horror movies to comic-book fare to war pictures.

Even as he gained popularity as one of Christopher Nolan’s favorite actors and as the star of the television drama “Peaky Blinders,” somehow Murphy still felt underrated. Well, that was until last year, when “Oppenheimer.” came out. In recent months more and more people have found themselves captivated by Murphy thanks to his now Oscar-winning performance as J. Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb and the central force of Nolan’s best picture-winning film.

“Oppenheimer” serves as an excellent overview of what Murphy is capable of onscreen — his take on the scientist is alternately seductive, cerebral and tortured. Still, it’s just his most recent triumph. If you’re now looking to expand your knowledge of Murphy’s work, here are some excellent options.

It’s frustrating for many cinephiles that Danny Boyle’s zombie masterpiece “28 Days Later” isn’t more easily available to stream. (Currently, it’s only on Sling.) Not only is this film one of the most haunting depictions of the way society quickly crumbles when faced with an apocalyptic scenario, it also offers a look at Murphy’s breakout moment, wandering through London’s ravaged streets in nothing but ill-fitting scrubs, a large scar across his head. Nolan uses the natural sunken quality of Murphy’s cheeks to great effect in “Oppenheimer,” where his gauntness also conveys a mind that cannot stop racing as he considers all the terrifying outcomes of his deeds. But Boyle employed Murphy’s physicality much earlier, casting him as Jim, a man who wakes up naked in a hospital bed 28 days after the onset of a monstrous virus known as the Rage. Jim is no one special, someone who survived by mere luck, but he wears that like a burden. Early on, you watch his newly revived brain process the horrors he is witnessing. Later, you see him fully embrace the fury this world requires. This is the film that demonstrated why Murphy is the actor to cast when you want someone to play haunted. There’s no one who does it like him.


Buy or rent on most major platforms

When it came to casting Murphy as a physicist, Boyle also got there first, giving him the role of Robert Capa, a scientist aboard a mission to reignite the fading sun with a bomb, in “Sunshine.” (Yes, “Oppenheimer” parallels continue.) Perhaps one of the best and most underrated sc-fi texts of the 21st century, the film — written, like “28 Days Later,” by Alex Garland — boasts an incredible cast alongside Murphy that includes his fellow Oscar winner Michelle Yeoh, Chris Evans and Rose Byrne. The excellent performances augment this tricky story about faith and survival in deep space. According to an interview with Boyle on, Murphy met with the physicist Brian Cox and visited the CERN particle accelerator. He brings that studiousness to his portrayal of Capa, who keeps fighting against the forces that want him to give up his humanity on a small scale to save humanity on a large scale. He infuses Capa with a sense of doubt when a clear, rational answer eludes him, but ultimately shifts into the role of hero. Without spoiling it, the climax rests entirely on how it plays out on Murphy’s face, which reads like something between euphoria and terror.

In 2024, it’s unlikely that Murphy would be cast in this Neil Jordan film. He’s a cisgender man playing a trans woman in this comedy-drama, based on the novel by Patrick McCabe. And yet Murphy’s performance as Patrick “Kitten” Braden should not be fully discounted as an example of an earlier, less progressive time. Murphy gives Kitten a wistfulness that infuses her every movement. She leans on her invented tales to escape the wretchedness of life, denouncing the “serious” in favor of the wondrous. You can see the heartbreaking fantasy play out in Murphy’s searching eyes as Kitten wistfully imagines the story of her long-lost mother. It’s also proof that in another life Murphy would have made for a pretty great glam rocker.


Stream on Paramount+

Murphy’s strong features can make him seem ethereally beautiful or terrifyingly villainous, depending on how he deploys them. “Red Eye” from Wes Craven uses both of those modes to great effect. The trick of this goofy but deliriously fun thriller is that you think his character, Jackson Rippner, might be a potential love interest for Rachel McAdams’s Lisa when they meet at the airport. Well, you don’t, because this is a movie directed by the horror master Craven, but Murphy sells it just long enough that you’re distracted by the time he reveals himself to be a maniacal terrorist entrapping McAdams in his plan. He turns into a sort of Terminator as he pursues her, but one with a surprisingly human kind of menace.

It seems strange to make this list without including another Christopher Nolan film. After all, Murphy has long been one of Nolan’s muses even if he never cast him in a lead role until “Oppenheimer.” So which one do you pick? The smug terror of his villain the Scarecrow in “Batman Begins”? The suave incepted target in “Inception”? All are worth a watch, but I have a soft spot for his work in “Dunkirk” as a traumatized soldier who is rescued and put aboard a boat piloted by Mark Rylance. When Murphy’s soldier learns that Rylance’s Dawson and his tiny crew (which includes a young Barry Keoghan) are planning to go to Dunkirk into the fighting instead of back to England, he’s furious, still reeling from the hellish experience he has just endured. His anger spins out of control, costing another life in the process. Murphy’s story line is ultimately one of the most heartbreaking and humane of any inDunkirk,” and it’s the fear in Murphy’s face that sells it.


Stream on AMC+

There’s a romance that Murphy brings to his portrayal of Damien O’Donovan in the Palme d’Or-winning drama “The Wind That Shakes the Barley,” from the social realist filmmaker Ken Loach. At the start, Damien is about to head to London to work as a doctor, but he witnesses atrocities by English forces that compel him to join his brother Teddy (Padraic Delaney) in the I.R.A. Murphy transforms Damien from new recruit to ardent freedom fighter — eventually even surpassing his sibling in dedication to the cause. The passion he brings to Damien is intoxicating. He is the beating heart of Loach’s intensely political work, giving face and voice to a man whose radicalization becomes his calling.

Murphy took on his first and so far only regular television role in “Peaky Blinders,” a BBC series that was released in the United States on Netflix. In the crime saga from Steven Knight, Murphy trades his Irish brogue for a Birmingham accent to play Tommy Shelby, a World War I veteran and the head of the eponymous gang. From the very first time he’s onscreen, astride a horse, Murphy oozes a complex cool. Over six seasons, various stars show up as adversaries and allies for Tommy, among them Sam Neill, Adrien Brody, Anya Taylor-Joy and Tom Hardy, but it’s Murphy who remains the focal point throughout. No one has made a flat cap look better.


Source link

Related Posts

Leave a Comment

Recent Posts

Pigeons swarm Las Vegas neighborhood, nesting at church Study finds adult female elk are badass and can’t be... Vacancy: some more elephants needed in the bush THE TECHNICAL BLOGS

Our Policies

Userful Links

Shop Stores

Copyright @2020  All Right Reserved - Designed and Developed by DSF SEO COMPANY