Reviewed bygbheronVote: 8/10/10
THE BUTCHER BOY comically chronicles a young boy's descent into madness. The boy provides a voice-over from the present to tell the story of hisyouth in an Irish village in the early 60s. His father's a violent drunk,and his mother is already insane, so it's not difficult to explain why thekid is losing his mind. It's just that he really doesn't know he's goingcrazy. He believes he's leading a perfectly normal life as we watch inhorror as his actions grow more violent and frightening. And it's a comedy!
Neil Jordan is a craftsman and creates a very enjoyable movie even given thevery dark subject matter. The child actor's are great, the best I've seenthis side of PONETTE. If the subject and its treatment don't put you offyou will like this movie. If not, try something else.
Reviewed byjmvcrit56Vote: 8/10/10
I went to my local video store last night and walked straight to its awesomehorror section. I was specifically looking for this movie, as i had seen itin the store before, and was about to see it until my friend decided thatwe'd walk out with Joy Ride. The cover of this movie intrigued me, and leadme to think that it would be a darkly comeidic yet still very scary storyabout a boy's descent into madness.
The Butcher Boy is about an Irish boy, Francie, whose domestic life ismiserable. His dad is always drunk and his mother is mentally unstable. However, he lets his anger out through his mischevous behavior in the town,particularly directed towards Mrs Nugent and her son, a perfect mother witha perfect son. Francie is also best friends with Joe, a sensitive kid ofwhom we get the impression from that he is losing interest in Francie'streatings of others, which are going a bit too far.
A lot more happens in The Butcher Boy, but if you don't like what you justgot, don't see the movie. Though it's not slow, Francie's characterdevelopment seems to drag, and Neil Jordan seems to advance his personalityjust before we've had enough.
The acting is what makes the movie what it is. Somebody call Eamonn Owensand give this kid a part in a movie. He owns the movie, he is the movie. Words cannot describe how good th' young laddie is at acting as the troubledFrancie. This has to be one of my favorite acting performances of all time,right up there with Jason Schwartzman in Rushmore, and Kiefer Sutherland inStand By Me. This kid needs a good role badly. Everybody else is decent,though i feel that Stephen Rea as Francie's father underplayed the role, andcould've added more depth to the character. The character seemed to bewaiting to become lively and three dimensional, but Rea went for the B minusand stopped there.
The butcher boy was not what I expected, and if you're looking for a horrormovie about madness, look elsewhere. If you want a dramatic character studywith a child actor better than a million Haley Joel Osments, this is foryou. It is thought provoking, upsetting, and doesn't beg for it at all. How many movies can you say that about?
Reviewed byTBJCSKCNRRQTreviewsVote: 8/10/10
I'd be lying if I claimed that the original reason I saw this wasn'tanything as simple and basic as curiosity... the plot simply sounds sobizarre that one can't help but wonder about the movie itself. Themovie is a wonderful mix of surrealism, drama and black comedy. Asanother reviewer points out, the accents may make the dialog a littlehard to make out... I was fortunate enough to have subtitles(as anyDane will tell you, we get subtitles on everything that is presented tous on a screen), but I think most anyone who has a good enough grasp onthe English language(and a good ear wouldn't hurt) will be able tounderstand, at the very least, enough of it to follow what's going on.The film is quite disturbing... it's told by a psychotic, andeverything is seen from his point of view, making the line betweentruth and fantasy blur. The narrative is impressive, underplaying somescenes to great effect. The plot is interesting. The pacing is a taduneven... while most of the film moves as it should, not too fast nortoo slow, there are parts where it seems to come to a complete halt.Luckily, these parts are few and far between. The characters arewell-written and credible. They are also all competently portrayed. Theacting... wow. What can I say? Eamonn Owens is nothing short of anartist. As you watch the film(which I hope you will), observe hiseyes... look into them, as he looks around menacingly, and tell me thatyou don't feel fear. Pure fear. One is reminded of Donald Pleasence'smarvelous monologue about Michael Myers' eyes(in Halloween, for theuninitiated). That stare... if I ever met Owens in real life, I doubtI'd dare look him in the eye. Even more impressively, this was hisdebut performance. I'll have to watch more of his movies, to see if hecan pull off other roles as well, but he certainly nailed this one.Stephen Rea was great... I've seen him in nothing else, but I couldrecognize his face from the trailers for V for Vendetta, a movie I'mlooking forward to(even more now that I know he will grace the filmwith what is sure to be just as astounding a performance as he gavehere), even though I'm sure it won't live up to Alan Moore's graphicnovel. Sinéad O'Connor was a blast(and seemed to be having one, aswell) as Our Lady. I haven't been able to find out who portrayed themain character as an adult, but let me tell you, his voice acting isgrand. The narration definitely adds to the film, both in use and inacting. The writing is great. The whole film is highly entertaining andvery poignant. This should be seen by just about anyone who can livewith(and more importantly, understand) the language and take thedisturbing nature of the film. I recommend this to anyone who is afraidof neither accents nor the disturbing images contained herein. Veryfunny and quite unsettling. 8/10
Francie and Joe live the usual playful, fantasy filled childhoods of normal boys. However, with a violent, alcoholic father and a manic depressive, suicidal mother the pressure on Francie to grow up are immense. Unfortunately, one tragedy after another, Francie's world sinks deeper and deeper into paranoia (directed mainly against Mrs. Nugent, a nasty neighbor) and fantasy (where he has visions of the Virgin Mary).