Colin Farrell first came to notice in 1998 in Ballykissangel. His part was small, but the series was huge and it wasn't long, via a friendship with Kevin Spacey, that he found himself in Hollywood. In 2000, he took the lead role in Tigerland, an anti-war film, hardly shown in the US, which gained him kudos. He easily out-acted a tired Bruce Willis in Hart's War, and reached the A list in Spielberg's Minority Report in 2002. His next film, Phone Booth, by Joel Schumacher was made especially for him. Despite his status as a leading man, he remains uninterested in glamour. Perhaps his best screen moment came in 2003, in the low-budget Intermission. It opens on Farrell's angel face as he chats up a young girl in a cafe. Full of twinkly Irish charm, the next moment he breaks her nose and seizes the cash from her till. It is fearless acting, larded with self-loathing, and you can't imagine it coming from DiCaprio or Depp.
It was better than anything he was allowed to do last year in Alexander, Oliver Stone's blockbuster which some critics say is the worst film ever made.
In the 1990 TV series Chancer, gangly Coventry lad Clive Owen played a sexy yuppy who was always one step ahead, and the public loved him. …