Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Butcher Boy

USA/Ireland 1997

Neil Jordan adapts Patrick McCabe's novel about Francie Brady (Eamonn Owens), an overimaginative boy whose dire home life turns his harmless fantasies into murderous delusions. When his abusive father (Stephen Rea) dies, and his suicidal mother is institutionalized, Francie acts out in homicidal fashion. Disturbing and surreal, Jordan's film is notable for, among other things, casting controversial singer Sinéad O'Connor as the Virgin Mary.


I went into this movie not really knowing what to expect. I'm a fan of Neil Jordan and had never seen this up until now. I can't really explain really what it is I just watched. It's elaborately acted,
as a timepiece; very, very detailed and accurate.
As a film that should, with all it's momentum, build some sort of empathy for any of it's characters, doesn't. Whether this was the writer's intent is unclear, for as an adaptation, the film could have lost the story's original intention by being alive and visual. I wasn't bored, that is certain. The film itself is very top notch and the acting very theatrical and boisterous. Loud and uncompromising, the dark humor definitely saves this movie. The narrative is a tad contrived at times, but for the most part never fails to deliver a clever emphasis on the events unfolding before your eyes. Ending was not a satisfying wrap up, but was in no way a bad one. 3.5/5

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