Irish actor Jack Reynor has come to the attention of many recently thanks to his *ahem* bare-all performance in Midsommar as Florence Pugh’s terrible boyfriend. It turns out he’s been working steadily for some time now – in Irish independent film, before working in many American projects. It may surprise you to learn that he was born in Colorado, but brought up in Ireland. It may also surprise you to learn that he’s worked with Toni Collette, Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy, John Boyega, Anthony Mackie, Vince Vaughn, Zoe Kravitz, Dennis Quaid, Michael B Jordan, Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, and Rooney Mara. He was even in a Transformer. Reynor is also an avid cinephile (an annoying term, I know) and posts film reviews and discussions on his alternate Instagram account – jrcinemania. He has recently directed his first short film – Bainne, starring his frequent co-star Will Poulter, which is influenced by a blend of Irish and Japanese folklore. After watching Midsommar, I spent a week doing a deep-dive of Reynor’s IMDb credits and I wouldn’t want this ‘research’ to go to waste. So, I bring you this guide to the Top 15 films and performances of JACK REYNOR.
*I’ve made a note next to each one letting you know which accent Reynor is doing, in case that’s important to you.
15) Leopard (Macken, 2013)
Believe me, it brings me absolutely no pleasure to shit all over an Irish independent film but unfortunately, this is BAD. What can only be described as a masturbatory vanity project from writer, director and star Eoin Macken, this film is utterly bizarre and not in a good way. It co-stars Tom Hopper, who I only know from The Umbrella Academy in a similar role to Luther – that of a naive, sexually inexperienced Lennie-like figure. Leopard (aka Cold) is apparently inspired by East of Eden, which is making me question everything I thought I knew about Steinbeck. I’d be surprised if Steinbeck’s epic features borderline necrophilia and a mother saying to her two sons “will I show you my fanny?” but you never know. Reynor only has a really small role in this, as a barman who comes into conflict with Eoin Macken’s character. This makes it feel like an even bigger waste of my time, but at least he can’t really be held accountable for how stupendously terrible this movie is. One to avoid.
14) Detroit (Bigelow, 2017)
This film was a huge disappointment for me – I reviewed it for JUMPCUT ONLINE, so won’t go into lots of detail here. The fantastic actors are badly let down by a terribly paced and structured narrative which does a huge disservice to the real-life people involved in this horrific incident. Reynor plays a racist cop with his frequent collaborator Will Poulter. John Boyega, Anthony Mackie and John Krasinski also appear – the acting is top-notch, but the writing, directing and editing are all terrible. A total waste of an opportunity.
13) A Royal Night Out (Jarrold, 2015)
Accent: a rare case of an English accent (kind of Cockney?)
This film should have been tailor-made for me. It’s set during the 1940s, has gorgeous costumes, the lindy hop and pink gin. It also could have provided a rare romantic role for Reynor, but unfortunately just kind of … doesn’t. It is VE Day and London is abuzz with parties and celebrations. The two young princesses in Buckingham Palace – Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon) and Margaret (Bel Powley) are desperate to escape and join the fun. Of course this will involve being incognito, like Jasmine in Aladdin. Once they are out in the crowds, they get separated and Elizabeth enlists the help of Jack Hodges (Reynor) to navigate her way around various pubs and clubs in search of her wild sister. Reynor and Gadon play the classic mismatched couple, forced to spend a night together and learning to love….but it just doesn’t really go anywhere. They don’t have great chemistry, the writing is stilted and awkward…. it’s a let down.
12) The Secret Scripture (Jim Sheridan, 2016)
The second entry on this list that has Reynor playing a dashing WWII soldier – again something designed to directly appeal to me – and again being a massive let-down. The story is split between Rose (Vanessa Redgrave) in the modern day (I think? Although this makes zero sense) telling her story to a doctor, played by Eric Bana. In flashback, Rose is played by Rooney Mara and she has the attentions of three men – a hot priest played by Theo James, a scally played by Aidan Turner and Michael McNulty, who goes on to be a pilot in the war (Reynor). The central mystery revolves around whether Rose killed her baby, leading her to be locked up in a hospital for the mentally ill. I kind of wasn’t hating it until the end, which has one of the most groan-inducing twists I’ve ever seen. As with many of these films, there wasn’t enough Reynor, but he did at least get some decent romance with Rooney, who was annoyingly beautiful and Irish-accented.
11) Delivery Man (Scott, 2013)
Vince Vaughn plays a slacker who works for the family meat business and has an on-again off-again girlfriend played by Cobie Smulders. He is contacted by a lawyer who reveals that 20 years ago, when he donated sperm to a sperm-bank, his ‘deposits’ were used to father 533 children. Now, around 140 of them want to know who he is. For some reason, Vince Vaughn finds out who the kids are and starts stalking them – trying to covertly help them, without revealing who he is. Reynor plays an actor/waiter (in a bizarre half-bar half-coffee shop) who is one of Vince Vaughn’s kids. Chris Pratt (schlubby Andy Dwyer era) plays Vaughn’s friend and lawyer. It’s not terrible! Not enough Reynor though!
10) On the Basis of Sex (Leder, 2018)
On the Basis of Sex has (a miscast imo) Felicity Jones playing Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Armie Hammer playing her husband Marty. When RBG brings her landmark sex discrimination case before the Supreme Court, her opposition comes in the form of three lawyers played by Sam Waterston, Stephen Root and Jack Reynor. It’s a fairly minor role for Reynor and I don’t think his casting is that appropriate. Reynor’s American accent can be shaky, depending on what kind of American he’s doing – the Irish usually comes through somewhere. The film itself is pretty cliched, the writing ain’t great and I really wish they’d got someone else to play RBG.
9) Dollhouse (Kirsten Sheridan, 2012)
Writer-director Kirsten Sheridan has had an interesting career, which has included directing Disco Pigs (starring Cillian Murphy), co-writing the fantastically heart-breaking film In America (starring Paddy Considine and Samantha Morton) and being one of the writers of London Town (starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Joe Strummer). She is also the daughter of Jim Sheridan (director of The Secret Scripture). Dollhouse is a pretty bold film in some ways – a group of Irish teenagers break into an extremely large luxury home and proceed to have the mother of all parties, absolutely trashing the house in the process. It comes across as largely improvisational and the teen actors do a really convincing job. Reynor plays the posh neighbour, who comes around to see what all the noise is about, but quickly becomes embroiled with the gang. Unfortunately, like Secret Scripture, it has a final act reveal that is so ridiculous, it upends much of what has gone before. However, it’s an interesting little Irish independent film.
8) What Richard Did (Abrahamson, 2012)
Directed by Lenny Abrahamson (Frank, Room, The Little Stranger), this story focuses on a twist of fate that unfortunately could easily happen to just about any teenager. Having taught in an all-boys Secondary School for ten years, this was one of main fears – that one weekend one of the boys could be the victim or perpetrator in a fight that goes horribly wrong. Reynor plays the protagonist Richard – an extremely popular and privileged rugby playing high schooler. We follow him to various parties, hanging out with his girlfriend etc and it is well acted by all of the young people involved. When the incident happens, his friends and family close ranks around him and this is where I started to go off this film. As with a few other films on this list, the ending really affected how I felt about the film as a whole.
7) Strange Angel (TV show – directed by Ben Wheatley, David Lowery and others, 2018-)
This TV series (currently in its second season) has a lot of features that appeal to me – set in 1930s/40s America, based on a true story and with several actors and directors that I like. Jack Parsons (played by Reynor on the show) was a janitor in a chemical factory, who experimented with being a rocket scientist in his spare time. He became a disciple of occultist Aleister Crowley in real life, which led him into a world of sex magic rituals. Greg Wise plays Alfred Miller, who is based on Crowley. Bella Heathcote (Neon Demon, Professor Marston) plays Jack’s wife and Rupert Friend plays his mysterious neighbour. I only had time to watch the first episode, directed by David Lowery (A Ghost Story, The Old Man and the Gun, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints). One of my favourite directors, Ben Wheatley has directed three episodes, which is promising. Christina Choe, who directed the film Nancy (starring Andrea Riseborough) has directed an episode. Mark Heyman, who wrote Black Swan is the creator of the show. The production values – costumes, production design, cars etc are high. I can’t say too much based on that first episode, other than it looks promising and Reynor has a tache!
6) Glassland (Barrett, 2014)
This is probably the best acting I’ve seen from Reynor out of the everything on the list. He plays a Dublin cabbie who is desperately trying to get his alcoholic Mum (played by Toni Collette) to seek treatment. The chemistry between Reynor and Collette as mother and son is fantastic and it doesn’t shy away from the harsh realities of her condition. Will Poulter plays Reynor’s best mate, who has a kid he’s not allowed to see, but a loving mother. Reynor has a breakdown scene, where he is in his car, begging his Mum to go into the treatment centre which is phenomenal. He also has a younger brother, who again, he has a great natural chemistry with. A small ensemble cast, who all work really well off one another – a rare little gem of an independent film.
5) Kin (Baker and Baker, 2018)
This only came out last year and has a fairly big-name cast, but I had not heard of it until I started doing this deep-dive. Reynor plays Jimmy, fresh out of prison and home with his Dad (Dennis Quaid) and his younger brother Eli (Myles Truitt). Near the start of the film, Eli finds a mysterious futuristic weapon in an abandoned warehouse and brings it home. Jimmy has huge debts accrued from receiving protection in prison and he now owes Taylor (an incredibly skeazy James Franco) and his gang tens of thousands of dollars. After there is a showdown between Jimmy and his Dad and Taylor’s gang, Jimmy and Eli go on the run. They meet exotic dancer Milly (Zoe Kravitz) and when things go bad at her strip club, she ends up on the run with them too. Unlike many of the other films on this list, the final act is bizarre, but in a good way and actually makes this film more interesting than it would otherwise be. There is a last-minute big-name cameo and the ending leans more into the sci-fi elements that have been circling throughout. There are touches of Fast Color here (a fantastic, but unfortunately under-seen film from this year, directed by Julia Hart). A pleasant surprise.
4) Free Fire (Wheatley, 2016)
AFree Fireccent: American
Wheatley takes an amazing cast, puts them in a 70s wardrobe, bungs them all in a warehouse, gives them all guns and lets the good times roll. I’ll take a deep breath before listing the cast: Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy, Brie Larson, Sharlto Copley, Michael Smiley, Sam Riley, Enzo Cilenti, Noah Taylor and Babou Ceesay. While Murphy and Smiley get to keep their Irish accents, Reynor plays American Harry, who actually fires the first shot and sparks the whole thing off. Harry is NOT happy about Stevo (Riley) bottling his cousin. As with Sing Street, Reynor wears a truly appalling wig, but here he also gets some large 70s glasses. Copley, as usual, is a standout and Larson does a great job of rising above the silly boys. It has a single location, takes place in real time and is fantastic.
3) Macbeth (Kurzel, 2015)
Accent: English RP
I really, truly cannot explain why I hadn’t seen this film before. I love Shakespeare, I know Macbeth like the back of my hand and I love Shakespeare adaptations. I love Fass (as an actor) and after seeing the stunning cinematography, I really wish I’d watched this on a big screen. The cast is rounded out by Marion Cotillard (Lady Macbeth), David Thewlis (Duncan), Sean Harris (Macduff), Elizabeth Debicki (Lady Macduff) and Paddy Considine (Banquo), with Reynor playing Malcolm. I love the way the witches are depicted here, as different ages of woman. I really liked the “screw your courage to the sticking place” scene. I didn’t love Lady Macbeth’s “out damn spot” scene, but Cotillard was fantastic. The costumes, production design and make up are all phenomenal but the main selling point is definitely the cinematography by Adam Arkapaw. Reynor only has a small role, unfortunately, but it’s definitely worth watching. Considine’s Banquo is a particular highlight.
2) Midsommar (Aster, 2019)
I will try not to step on the shoes of Cameron’s fantastic review of this film here. I haven’t seen Hereditary because I struggle with films that depict grief, but when I heard about Midsommar I knew it would be much more up my street. The setting plus the cast of Florence Pugh, Reynor, Poulter and William Jackson Harper were all appealing to me. Pugh obviously gives another mesmerising central performance (after her break-through in Lady Macbeth), but I would argue that Reynor is at least as good. His depiction of a gaslighting boyfriend has to be nuanced – seemingly a normal, good guy but subtly undermining Dani at every opportunity. The true horror of the film is really his insidious nature. He also does a great job of acting the more comedic elements – constantly being under the influence of psychotropic drugs, being seduced by one of the ladies of the cult, feuding with Josh (Harper) over their dissertations – without being too over-the-top. Reynor has to balance a lot of elements in Midsommar and he does it extremely well. Oh, also God bless Reynor for “advocating for as much (male) full frontal as possible.”
1) Sing Street (Carney, 2016)
For most of us, this was our introduction to Reynor. Playing Brendan, the older brother of Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), who educates him and offers sage advice on their parents, girlfriends, being cool and most importantly of all – music. Brendan is very much channeling Lester Bangs (Almost Famous) in his role as mentor, while gradually revealing his own vulnerabilities. He can talk a good game – telling Conor to get out there and take risks, but he doesn’t practice what he preaches. As he watches their parents’ marriage crumble and Conor slipping away, Brendan’s cool facade starts to break. Reynor is great, but the whole film, including Lucy Boynton’s performance as Raphina is all-round fantastic. The original songs perfectly encapsulate the 80s style (both lyrically and musically) and the costuming is authentic too. Sing Street was criminally overlooked by awards shows, but if you haven’t seen it – make sure you check it out.
Also available – Transformers: Age of Extinction (Bay, 2014)
I couldn’t bring myself to watch a Marky Mark Transformer – soz.
So there you have it – a whirlwind tour of Jack Reynor’s back catalogue. This wasn’t my first time at this particular rodeo and it surely won’t be my last. I’m an expert on many, many actors so get in touch on Twitter if you have any article requests. This could become a regular feature on JUMPCUT, you never know.