Colin Farrell talks Triage

Colin Farrell stars in Danis Tanovic’s Triage, a brutal and uncompromising character study of a TV newsman who returns home from covering the war in Eastern Europe. 

Set in 1988, Mark (Farrell) gets deep into the bloody trenches of Kurdistan, documenting horrific scenes of war and death; he also films the making of a mobile hospital where gravely wounded soldiers are “euthanized”. 

Mark eventually returns home to Dublin, profoundly changed by what he witnessed.  He’s in mental distress but unable to talk about what happened to him.

Mark has severe post traumatic stress disorder “at the very least”, Farrell tells Monsters and Critics. 

“It was a long time coming.  It was years of suppression and believing he was only viewing war objectively through the safety of the camera lens when in fact he was the subject of the war from day one.  It was highlighted when he asks the doctor to tell him some war stories and he sees literally how he may have effected the environment from time to time.”

“He begins to understand how it has affected him” he says.  “It manifests itself in many ways, emotionally, psychologically, his relationship with his wife, flashbacks and nightmares and physically.  He sees it’s affected him deeply – psychologically and physically.  The wall he has built to protect himself, that he thinks he’s built, has been torn down.”

Mark undergoes psychiatric treatment for his condition but it uncovers more severe problems.  Shooting Triage was no picnic for Farrell. 

“It was a three month shoot.  You’re spending 14 hours a day 5 or 6 days week immersed completely in the dark subject matter, playing Mark who is living in horror under an incredible burden of guilt,” Farrell tells Monsters and Critics.  “It’s a little on the dour side, I’m afraid.”

Farrell lost forty pounds to play the part, crediting his “addictive, competitive” nature which allowed him to set a weight loss goal and meet it fast. “I am very competitive with myself.” 

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