There is tremendous excitement wherever Colin Farrell goes. He has just sailed down the midtown Toronto hotel hallway, greeting reporters and publicists, hugging old friend Brian Cox and smiling at the admiring faces gazing up at him. He is unfailingly polite.

Farrell’s in town supporting Danis Tanovic’s Triage, a brutal and uncompromising character study of a TV newsman who returns home from covering the war in Eastern Europe to find himself profoundly changed. Farrell lost 40 pounds to play the part. He says his character Mark was far more affected by what he saw standing behind his camera than he could have imagined.

“It was a three month shoot; you’re spending 14 hours a day five or six days week immersed completely in the dark subject matter, playing Mark who is living in horror under an incredible burden of guilt.”

Farrell says Mark was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder at the very least. “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.”

Mark’s return home to Dublin is not a happy one. He can’t get the images of war out of his mind.

“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.”

Want to see it?

• Repeat screening of Triage today at 9:15 a.m. at the Scotiabank Theatre.