By Samantha Highfill
Updated December 23, 2013 at 09:00 PM EST
Credit: Jaap Buitendijk
  • Movie

I always liked Colin Farrell, but for the first few years of his career, I appreciated him more for his looks than for his acting. It’s not that I ever thought he was a bad actor, it was simply that I didn’t realize how good he was. But all of that changed when I watched In Bruges in 2008.

In Bruges is a dark comedy that follows two hit men — played by Farrell and Brendan Gleeson — who are sent away to Belgium to hide after Farrell’s character made a mistake. While on the job, Farrell shot and killed a young boy. As a result, his boss — Ralph Fiennes! — orders Gleeson to kill Farrell for his mistake. Watch the trailer below:

Written and directed by Martin McDonagh, the film deals with a heavy subject matter in an incredibly funny way. And much to my surprise, Farrell ended up being the funniest (and most endearing) part of the film for me. Between his hilarious facial expressions and his perfectly timed delivery, Farrell won me over with In Bruges. He presented a character who was both funny and incredibly sad all at once. Underneath the humor and the snarky remarks, Farrell’s character was dealing with the fact that he had accidentally taken the life of a young child. He made me laugh just as much as he made me cry, and there was a lot of both.

Farrell’s ability to present such a complex, funny character was both unexpected and remarkable. In fact, it won him a Golden Globe, after which he gave an acceptance speech that summed up everything great about this movie, including his own performance. He described the script as being “simultaneously profound, and beautifully comic, and wonderfully painful, filled with delightful remorse and more than anything else the sweetest, sweetest redemptive qualities. And that was In Bruges for me.”

I still can’t get over how much I love this film, and how some people haven’t seen Colin Farrell’s true talent. And while we’re on the topic, I also have to give a quick shout-out to Farrell’s work in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. Farrell, along with Johnny Depp and Jude Law, filled in on the film following Heath Ledger’s tragic death, and as you watch the film, you can tell Farrell studied Ledger’s performance. You can see Ledger through Farrell’s every mannerism, a fact that only furthered my respect for him as an actor.

At the end of the day, what I’m trying to say is you should watch In Bruges, particularly if you don’t think of Farrell as an award-worthy actor … because he is just that.

In Bruges

  • Movie
  • R
  • 107 minutes
  • Martin McDonagh