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  • Just caught this movie on cable; I hadn't heard of it before.

    It is a brilliant film; black comedy of the blackest sort. What is truly amazing is the acting ability of lead Eamonn Owens; in my mind the finest performance of a kid his age that I've ever seen.

    The sardonic humor of this film, the way it treats such horrible things as lightly as it does, the acting, the script, the quaint narrative devices, and sense of menace cloaked in charming small town Irish life make this a thoroughly original and engaging character study.

    Sinead O'Connor is a scream as the Virgin Mary.

    The thick accents in this film make it a little bit difficult to follow in parts, but American audiences should still be able to understand most of the dialogue.

    I cannot recommend this film highly enough; it is proof that you can still make a quality movie without buying into cheap Hollywood cliches.
  • CTzen27 February 2004
    I don't understand how this movie is so unknown by most of the people.

    Simply put, this is an amazing film. Eamonn Owens' performance is just unbelievable.

    There are some serious and sensitives themes in this movie (murder, suicidal thoughts, alcoholism, child abuse, religion) however it's not a disturbing movie (it has its moments though). The reason for the lack of disturbance in this film is because we're seeing everything from the perspective of a little boy.

    The Butcher Boy is, for sure, one of the best dark comedies/dramas that I've seen. Highly recommendable.
  • gbheron26 November 1999
    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 his youth 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 the kid is losing his mind. It's just that he really doesn't know he's going crazy. He believes he's leading a perfectly normal life as we watch in horror 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 the very dark subject matter. The child actor's are great, the best I've seen this side of PONETTE. If the subject and its treatment don't put you off you will like this movie. If not, try something else.
  • The Butcher Boy is a very weird film...This boy Francie has a bad influence; his father. His father is a violent man, alcoholic, but he loves his son a lot...This boy is very well played by Eamonn Owens, a young actor I didn't know before who surely worths a look at his performance. Stephen Rea is perfect in the role of the violent father, and Fiona Shaw is great in the role of a woman who hates Francie, because he beats up her son. But Francie is dangerous...The story is a mix of fear, hate, madness, happiness, that is mixed up in that little boy's brain. Sometimes, he's the good boy who protects his mother and sometimes he is the murderer...Francie is full of contradictions, and he tries to put happiness and death together. The narrator is very funny, but sometimes tells innapropriate things for the images we watch...but that's the psychotic part of it...incredibly well-shot, this film deserves lots of attention. I bought it for five stupid dollars...and Lost In Space was fifteen dollars...and the video sold it because of the lack of rentals...well, too bad for this video, they have one less good film on the shelf.... Neil Jordan brought us The Crying Game, Interview With The Vampire, In Dreams and some other good films...but I believe this one is his finest's like watching Sleepers, Psycho and A Clockwork Orange at the same time. One thing that could be a problem; the accent of the characters when they speak...but I was happy to see that it was not set in the United States...Great film... I give it 85% and maybe it deserves better.
  • jmvcrit5622 September 2002
    I went to my local video store last night and walked straight to its awesome horror section. I was specifically looking for this movie, as i had seen it in the store before, and was about to see it until my friend decided that we'd walk out with Joy Ride. The cover of this movie intrigued me, and lead me to think that it would be a darkly comeidic yet still very scary story about a boy's descent into madness.

    The Butcher Boy is about an Irish boy, Francie, whose domestic life is miserable. 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 with a perfect son. Francie is also best friends with Joe, a sensitive kid of whom we get the impression from that he is losing interest in Francie's treatings 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 just got, don't see the movie. Though it's not slow, Francie's character development seems to drag, and Neil Jordan seems to advance his personality just before we've had enough.

    The acting is what makes the movie what it is. Somebody call Eamonn Owens and 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 troubled Francie. This has to be one of my favorite acting performances of all time, right up there with Jason Schwartzman in Rushmore, and Kiefer Sutherland in Stand 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, and could've added more depth to the character. The character seemed to be waiting to become lively and three dimensional, but Rea went for the B minus and stopped there.

    The butcher boy was not what I expected, and if you're looking for a horror movie about madness, look elsewhere. If you want a dramatic character study with a child actor better than a million Haley Joel Osments, this is for you. It is thought provoking, upsetting, and doesn't beg for it at all. How many movies can you say that about?
  • Neil Jordan, famed for such hits as Michael Collins and The Crying Game, returns to a much more conventional style of filmmaking. This time he leaves out the stars: no Liam Neeson, no Aidan Quinn, no Julia Roberts. This time it's cinema verite: a sotto-voce cast (barring Stephen Rea) which takes the mind off the actors and onto the film.

    Which is good, because the film is a ripsnorter. It's a powerful expose on how children can turn out horribly wrong through a tough childhood. There is no fancy cinematography or cutesy-pie moments; no Hollywood endings or Schwarzenegger stick-ups. This is pure black comedy which relies on a fabulous script.

    It revolves around the life of Francie Brady, a young Irish boy who gets up to all sorts of mischief. Him and his friend, Joe, are the local troublemakers in Dublin. But, there's more to Francie than one would think. His is a soul which is black at the core, and the passing of prominent figures in his life, as well as time spent in and out of juvenile detention centres, plus the dirty priests which govern the schools, sends the boy over the edge.

    He paints a picture of hyperbole. Francie always seems happy, energetic and ready for action, yet boiling up inside of him are bloody demons and unimaginable violence. It's that hyperbole which creates so much tension in the movie, just wondering what he'll do and when he'll do it.

    The film is narrated by an older Francie, one who has spent his life in a prison for the mentally insane. His narration is humorous and ironic, yet occasionally it derives some of the power from the movie because of its light-hearted, schmultzy comments. Francie sometimes talks to his older self, making one remember "Ferris Beuler's Day Off", but apart from that, the film is fantastic.

    It lags in parts. Occasional scenes are drawn out and lengthy, and you just want to scream out, "pick up the damn butcher's knife and kill someone!" To make the film increase in pace. But that's not a major problem, that might just be my attention span, if you didn't have those scenes you wouldn't have such a poignant movie.

    The Butcher Boy has a very satisfactory denouement. We all took our childhood for granted. It had its ups, it had its downs. This is a film which portrays what sort of childhood arises from continuous downs, dominated by misery and loss, and how much of an effect it can have on such an impressionable mind. This is a wonderful, black, violent, dramatic and hilarious movie. A rare offering, indeed.

    Nine out of ten.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I'm glad I finally got around to checking out THE BUTCHER BOY - it's one of those sort of films that I've been keeping my eye on for a while, but never managed to pick it up. It turned out to be another strange, cult-like gem that was well worth waiting for.

    Francie is a troubled kid growing up in working class Ireland in a household where his mother is nuts and his father's a drunk. His one true friend, Joe is all Francie really has, until fate (and Francie's penchant for trouble-making) separate the boys. The rest of the film chronicles Francie's sometimes hilarious, sometimes touching, sometimes disturbing descent into his own madness...

    A strange films that will run you through the range of emotions - THE BUTCHER BOY is an original film that's hard to compare to any other. I guess I would say it somewhat reminded me of BAD BOY BUBBY (not in "content" - more in how it "effected" me) as like BBB - THE BUTCHER BOY has parts that are funny, witty, dark, sad, disturbing, heartfelt, and much more - all in one film, without feeling like it's being taken overboard. Another BIG plus - is that oftentimes I'm annoyed by child-leads in films - but Francie's character (and actually all the child actors for that matter) were spot-on in this film. My ONLY real gripe is that many of the characters have such a strong Irish accent that I couldn't tell what the hell they were saying half the time - but that's not their fault, I just found it a bit distracting. A truly strange treasure that I highly suggest checking out...9/10
  • I'd be lying if I claimed that the original reason I saw this wasn't anything as simple and basic as curiosity... the plot simply sounds so bizarre that one can't help but wonder about the movie itself. The movie is a wonderful mix of surrealism, drama and black comedy. As another reviewer points out, the accents may make the dialog a little hard to make out... I was fortunate enough to have subtitles(as any Dane will tell you, we get subtitles on everything that is presented to us on a screen), but I think most anyone who has a good enough grasp on the English language(and a good ear wouldn't hurt) will be able to understand, at the very least, enough of it to follow what's going on. The film is quite disturbing... it's told by a psychotic, and everything is seen from his point of view, making the line between truth and fantasy blur. The narrative is impressive, underplaying some scenes to great effect. The plot is interesting. The pacing is a tad uneven... while most of the film moves as it should, not too fast nor too slow, there are parts where it seems to come to a complete halt. Luckily, these parts are few and far between. The characters are well-written and credible. They are also all competently portrayed. The acting... wow. What can I say? Eamonn Owens is nothing short of an artist. As you watch the film(which I hope you will), observe his eyes... look into them, as he looks around menacingly, and tell me that you don't feel fear. Pure fear. One is reminded of Donald Pleasence's marvelous monologue about Michael Myers' eyes(in Halloween, for the uninitiated). That stare... if I ever met Owens in real life, I doubt I'd dare look him in the eye. Even more impressively, this was his debut performance. I'll have to watch more of his movies, to see if he can 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 could recognize his face from the trailers for V for Vendetta, a movie I'm looking forward to(even more now that I know he will grace the film with what is sure to be just as astounding a performance as he gave here), even though I'm sure it won't live up to Alan Moore's graphic novel. Sinéad O'Connor was a blast(and seemed to be having one, as well) as Our Lady. I haven't been able to find out who portrayed the main character as an adult, but let me tell you, his voice acting is grand. The narration definitely adds to the film, both in use and in acting. The writing is great. The whole film is highly entertaining and very poignant. This should be seen by just about anyone who can live with(and more importantly, understand) the language and take the disturbing nature of the film. I recommend this to anyone who is afraid of neither accents nor the disturbing images contained herein. Very funny and quite unsettling. 8/10
  • The Butcher Boy is exuberant, funny and horrific. It's passionate and inventive and unforgettable. The Butcher Boy was directed by Irishman Neil Jordan who's previous films are impressive. They include The Crying Game, Mona Lisa, Interview With A Vampire, and Michael Collins.

    The Butcher Boy is based on a novel by Patrick McCabe who also co-wrote the screen play. I'm very pleased to relate that The Butcher Boy isn't based on a true story!!! I sure hope it isn't anyway.

    The Butcher Boy is about a lad who commits a horrific murder in a rural Irish town. But the film certainly isn't solemn. Jordan has enlivened an essentially gory tale with a touch of inventive, sometimes humorous magic realism (a bewigged Sinead O'Connor plays The Virgin Mary). Jordan is also blessed by having available a wonderfully gifted leading actor.

    Fifteen year old Eamonn Owens, a schoolboy in real life from near where The Butcher Boy was shot, plays 12 year old Francie Brady. Francie finds himself betrayed. His dad (Stephen Rea) is a drunk, his Ma (Aisling O'Sullivan) is suicidal. His best friend lets him down. The township and it's institutions aren't supportive. He eventually takes his revenge.

    The boy also has visions. We could say he's imaginative as children should be, but this boy is cheerfully violent as well. The Butcher Boy doesn't discuss cause and effect at all, but such is the power of the film, most viewers will wonder how such a thing could happen. Was Francie schizophrenic? Was he a psychopath. If he had had a stable loving family what might have happened?

    Regardless, Eamonn Owens is just terrific as the cheerful, energetic, often very funny Francie Brady. This red headed bundle of uninhibited, unselfconscious energy has created a very memorable screen character indeed. Neil Jordan must have been tickled pink to have such a lead for his film.

    Leading English stage actress Fiona Shaw plays the prissy Mrs Nugent and Irish stalwart, Milo (the eyebrows) O'Shea plays a meddlesome priest. Stephen Rea fans won't find much to celebrate since Rea doesn't do much more than look drunk, sit, and kick in a television, but that's because The Butcher Boy quite rightly revolves around the wonderful, funny and bloody Eamonn Owens. See The Butcher Boy if you can.
  • During the 1960's people were fearful of losing their world. What with the Cuban Missle Crises and the threat of Nuclear Winter, it's little wonder many hid in prayerful disillusion. For two young Irish boys, something loomed closer. Their lives encompassed their town, their family and their friendship. The first is Joe Purcell (Alan Boyle) a typical Irish boy out to enjoy his youth. The second is his best and closest friend named Francis Brady (Eamonn Owens) who becomes the unlikely hero in the movie, "The Butcher Boy." To Joe, friendship is a temporary bond which enhances life with laughter, pranks and boyhood imagination. But to Francis Brady, friendship is permanent and indelible which nothing on the planet, including Atomic fire, can separate. Enter, the boy's Nemesis, the town gossip and constant irritation to their bond. Mrs. Nugent, (Fiona Shaw) sees the boys as lowly delinquents, petty trouble makers, vicious bullies and future criminals. During the escalating conflict, the audience watches as Francis loses many of the people he loves. Eventually, Mrs. Nugent causes him to lose his best friend. Vengefully, Francis marks her for ultimate punishment. Audiences must decided the boy's reason for his erratic behavior. Was it his drunken father's (Stephen Rea) physical abuse, his mother's suicidal tendencies, incarceration at reform school, becoming a victim of sexual abuse by Father Sullivan (Milo O'Shea), subsequent shock treatments, increasing mental delusions of space aliens or iconic religious figures. It's little wonder Francsis commits the ultimate act of revenge. This is an honest, straight forward movie, which depicts the inner workings of a fragile but psychotic boy in crises. Many people allow maturity to transform them into adults, but some refuse, paying the inevitable price for doing so. ****
  • This film is as shocking and horrific as it was funny and touching. In a world of many heartless films that are shallow, annoying, and predictable or insensitive and too dramatic, this movie balanced all it's elements wonderfully. It's a tale of Francie Brady, a young Irish lad in the early Cold War, who at first has a lot of playful mischief and a deep heart for those closest to him. Yet as the film progresses so does the Francie's problems and so does the darkness within him as he tries to hold on and protect what little he was born with. His drunken father, who has a great knack with the trumpet, loves his family but his pain seems to override his tenderness. His mother is caught in the struggle of being a good mother and fighting her own inner demons, which ultimately consumes her. Francie invests much of his faith into his best friend Joe, a calmer but good-humored boy. But even the deepest of friendships suffer from the pressure of society, as Joe abandons Francie for a more conforming lifestyle. As all of Francie's allies leave him, insanity and anger take over his mind. He plunges into a life a wild and frantic searching and destruction. He takes out much of this anger on a critical and harsh neighbor, in a gruesome scene (which is funny considering how it differs from most of the Hollywood bull). Francie's escapades lead him to hospitalization. We then meet the adult Francie years later as he is released. We see the eager boy who grew into a lunatic and now has settled into a state of sad yet conventional behavior, but a good old friend (which was once a part of his insanity) comes back to comfort him. This film may be eerie and unconventional but that is what adds to it brilliance and fantastical charm. Viewer Note: I'll never look at a pile of cabbage the same way again
  • Francie Brady is terribly wounded in the hospital. The movie flashes back. Francie and Joe play together. Francie's father (Stephen Rea) is a violent drunk. His mother is suicidal and is taken away. Mrs. Nugent (Fiona Shaw) doesn't like him and he doesn't like her. Francie's mom returns in a manic state. Uncle Alo (Ian Hart) comes by for a Christmas visit. After his mother's death, Francie starts bullying little Phillip Nugent and Mrs. Nugent.

    The kid is a hateful brat and I can't stand him. I can't stand most of the characters in this movie. I want to beat some sense into the boy or quite frankly anybody. The adults are mostly clueless idiots or drunks. I don't see any of this as charming but Neil Jordan seems intend on making this quirky. The music, the narration, and the whole tone is way too light. The tone needs to be darken to match the subject. I kept wondering if Neil Jordan thinks any of this is actually funny and why? This could have been great material for a super-dark super-violent drama.
  • The movie is basically about growing up under tough circumstance, which is not without its emotional scars and eventually leads up to only more tragedy. It makes the movie sound like such a downer but the movie actually has a sort of light and pleasant atmosphere to it, that is hard to describe or compare to anything else but bottom-line is that it works out well and makes the movie a still mostly pleasant one.

    Not that the movie is always easy to watch though. It's still being a bit of a difficult movie to follow at times but it never goes overboard with anything. The movie just takes a too light and simplistic approach for that, which is all something positive in this case.

    I didn't really expected this but it really is a movie that is all about its young characters. All of the adults are truly being secondary characters in this and I would say that Eamonn Owens is on the screen for about 95% of the time, if not an 100% but just don't pin me on that. And I quite like movies that are entirely being told from the viewpoint of a young kid. I don't know, it's always easy to somewhat identify with I guess, since everybody used to be a young kid at one point.

    You also could say that it's a movie about the loss of innocence. Due to circumstance the young characters in this movie have to mature very fast, while they still have the needs and minds of a young child in them. This leads to some pretty surprising developments at times.

    Thing that this movie mostly has going for it is its originality. It's being original with its story but even more so with its approach. It also was the right approach to take in my opinion, since this movie would had been an incredible dry and heavy one had it been done as a completely serious drama.

    Definitely watchable but I should still say that this movie most definitely won't be everybody's cup of tea.

  • I loved two aspects of this film. One was the incredible performance of Eamonn Owens as the butcher boy. He is absolutely real and believable as the disturbed protagonist in the parts that demanded it.

    The other aspect is the send up of all those happy Irish films - from "The Quiet Man" to "The Commitments" to "Waking Ned Devine". The ironic combination of these myths with gritty and nasty reality produces a surreal, disturbing yet funny black comedy.

    Unfortunately, the allegory and the reality don't mix as well as it might have. I kept on thinking that in real life, the butcher boy would have had the s***e beat out of him - many times over (not that it would have mattered). And even though I knew that he was not meant to be absolutely real - (somewhat like the boy in "The Tin Drum") this felt really forced since it detracted from the realistic aspects of the film where it really excelled.

    However, overall, an excellent and different film which is well worth watching.
  • One of my favourites of all time, possibly because I love listening to (and imitating) Irish accents, but also because I thought Eamonn Owens as Francie Brady was fantastic. True, the movie has a rather dark and sadistic theme to it but plenty of laughs as well and I thought the combination of these worked well. It will not appeal to all but I still find my self wandering around the house saying "The incredible Francie Brady ladies and gentlemen", with my best Irish accent, 3 months after I watched the film for the 2nd time.
  • I would have thought this movie to be unique if I had not seen Reflective Skin earlier. THis is a walk inside an insane Irish kid's mind who started off mildly bent and then was tortured into insanity by his wretched surroundings. Reflective Skin, with acting that is not as sharp but a far superior script is the better movie on this topic.

    If you are sick and tired of all the beige Irish films that suburban sheeple with 1/8th Irish in them watch to feel more Irish watch this flick- it is the direct opposite of the tepid Irish comedy that has been shoved down our throats ever since "The Commitments" was a hit.

    This movie focuses on a red headed Irish lad and his exploits in a small Irish town as his small world slowly falls apart. I found the script to be daft but the acting brilliant.

    The boy get's the name "Butcher Boy" because he works at a butcher's on occasion- not because of any horror element.
  • Perhaps an Irish "A Clockwork Orange," though not nearly as artfully done.

    I tended to disagree with the review by 1001 of B.C. Canada who said:

    "My biggest problem with the film is that it doesn't give a sufficient reason for Francie's (eventually) tragic actions. ... He's not surrounded by evil. There seems to be little cause for his growing extremism"

    It seems apparent to me that the child is downright psychotic. We can attribute this partially to his upbringing (his alcoholic father and mentally ill mother). Certainly, some people are simply mentally ill; psychotic not due to environment.

    This is not a film I would recommend lightly. If you did not like "A Clockwork Orange," "Brazil," "THX 1138," "Man Bites Dog," "The Dark Backward" or other such "dark" films, you will not like this film at all.
  • I love this film deeply. It's just about as funny as it can be, while remaining as tragic as any film I've seen. Welcome to the life of a young boy as those he loves and respects most take everything he values from him. Some people don't seem to get that process, but that's no big deal, it's their loss. The moment Stephen Rea (unfairly criticised in certain other posts here, i thought) tries to reach out to his son in the reform school only to discover he's too weak and his neglect has gone on too long is one of the most heartbreaking moments i've ever encountered in cinema.

    There's nothing wrong with this film. That's an incredible statement, if you actually sit and think about it. But i stand over it.
  • i cannot categorise this film.there is comedy , drama ,deep dark horrors of the mind and childlike innocense and that is but half of it all. it is the life of a boy affected by his environment ,family home, trying to enjoy boyhood innocense while struggling with his mind's demons as i see it. eammon owens, stephen rea fit together magically in the boy's film debut as though they 'd been close all their lives.' many things may be misunderstood of this film such as boyhood scenes with his best friend ( the only person in the world the lead character seems to be able to anchor to emotionally) as they elaborate in acting, the innocense and mischievousness( no idea how thats spelt), that is expected of the dream childhood. as well as sinead oconnor being commented on as playing the part of Our Lady. for me , it is clear, she is but portraying a figment of the lead character's imagination , whose interest in her seemed to manifest in the pictures and statues of our lady, hence sinead's lack of facial movements and the odd things she says. many words and the irish accent may be lost at times on some americans but the flow of the film is uneffected by a few words lost here and there they have told me. The brilliance of this film , actually endears you to a bully of a boy who commits the ultimate reprehensible act, because it follows his life and history of mental illness that lurks beneath the sweet faced , clever charmer.

    i must have seen this film 30 times i kid you not.
  • Darth-3218 November 2000
    Francie Brady has become a Cult figure in his own lifetime! The 'true to life' scenes of lower working class Irish life are only equalled by the 'tragi-comic' views of Francie's life. His frequent 'conversations' with "Mary" complete what must become "The Cult Film of the 90's". It is a film you will either 'love' or 'hate'... Did you like the book "Angela's Ashes"? You may see shades of Francie in there too! Not seen it? Try it! Within 15 minutes you'll know whether it's for you. (Darth)
  • I've seen this movie twice so far on video and it was worth it both times. I found Francie Brady's story to be both wildly disturbing and wildly amusing. During the whole time that I was laughing, I thought to myself "This isn't right! I shouldn't laugh at this!" But I did. I felt for the boy and really thought that it was a shame that he was so emotionally and mentally disturbed and that no one seemed to be able to do anything about it. While I didn't think that Mrs. Nugent deserved WHAT she got in the end, I did think that she played a primary role in Francie's fall into madness. I certainly don't think that she should have sent two grown men to beat up a little boy.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    From director Neil Jordan (The Crying Game, Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, Michael Collins, The Brave One), this Irish film used to be listed in the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, I was certainly hoping it deserved that placement. Basically set in Ireland in the early 1960s, in the small town of Clones, twelve year old Francie Brady (Eamonn Owens) is an imaginative boy who loves comic books, movies and television, and these fuel his interest in aliens, communism and the Atomic Age. Francie's mother Annie aka Ma (Aisling O'Sullivan) is a manic depressive, and suffering a nervous breakdown commits suicide, Francie is left in the care of his emotionally distant and ill-tempered alcoholic father Benny aka Da (Stephen Rea), and to get away Francie spends most of his time with his best friend Joe Purcell (Alan Boyle). More despair follows when Joe is sent to boarding school, and then he starts having conflicts with the neighbours, another boy, Phillip Nugent (Andrew Fullerton) and his nasty mother Mrs. Nugent (Harry Potter's Fiona Shaw), this friction was spawned from some form of paranoia. He finds work in the local abattoir which helps him earn some needed money, but then his father dies after drinking himself to death, the continuing argument goes to the point when Francie's condition has worsened with more bizarre behaviour, and he goes too far and murders Mrs. Nugent, who he blamed for all things going wrong. Francie is sent by the authorities to an asylum to attempt to help him recover and return to reality, but this is difficult as he cannot help but have fantasies and conversations with the spirit of a foul-mouthed Virgin Mary (singer Sinéad O'Connor), he is molested by priest Father Sullivan (Milo O'Shea), and the town will probably never forgive him following his shocking brutality. Also starring Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone's Ian Hart as Uncle Alo, Father Ted's Ardal O'Hanlon as Mr. Purcell, Alan Boyle as Joe Purcell, Niall Buggy as Father Dom, Brendan Gleeson as Father Bubbles and Never Mind the Buzzcocks's Sean Hughes as Psychiatrist #1. As the young boy near adolescence Owens gives a brilliant performance, and the performances of Rea and O'Connor add to it also, this is film full of both darkness and surrealism as the first mischievous child working in a slaughterhouse has his world slowly crumbling around him and his mental state deteriorates, but there are moments to make you laugh too, I admit some bits were slow, but overall I found it a most interesting black comedy drama. Very good!
  • Talented filmmaker Neil Jordan provides - with the help of even talented Irish actors - a peculiar overview of life in a small Irish town in the 1960ies, long before Ireland began to enjoy its economic success and openness to the rest of the world, even to rest of Europe. Through the eyes of an uncertain yet sensual boy Francie (splendidly performed by Eamonn Owens, definitely in my Top10 list of child actors), the viewers get a picture of issues and phenomena in a closed and conservative, rather poor society, with religion prevailing in virtually all layers of everyday life. Advancing is hard, there are different fears and setbacks, and all this is easily combined with growing pains - resulting with the fate we see by the example of Francis. True, there are bright moments and phenomena, but there is often laugh through tears, well, you can seldom laugh, just giggle at best. Nevertheless, the approach is nuanced, and character actors like Stephen Rea or Fiona Shaw provide additional, valuable angles.

    All in all, The Butcher Boy is another coming off by Neil Jordan. His admirers will not get disappointed. Probably others, too, unless they have black-and-white world view or are very religious. And it is hardly an educational family film...
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is a terrific film from Neil Jordan: paving the way for some of his later, more famous works - but to my mind, this is his best film. Once you get past the quirk of casting Sinead O'Connor as Our Lady (a performance of great respect and ability, it turns out...) and get into the film, it's clear from an early stage that you are watching something pretty special. The acting is first rate throughout. The plaudits awarded to Eamonn Owens as Francie Brady are entirely deserved - it is a REMARKABLE performance, devoid of any guile or staginess, full of the intensity and sadness of childhood. He is supported by acting greats Stephen Rea and Fiona Shaw as his father, and nemesis respectively, and there isn't a bum note in the whole thing. It is an imaginative and almost unbearably sad film (and as only sad films can be it is also remarkably funny) that deserves to enjoy huge success and CERTAINLY deserves a DVD release, which at time of writing, was already long overdue.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Know anything about mental illness? Related to someone with Unipolar BP or is schizo-affective? Brady speaks to Mary, is unambiguous in sexuality, rides horrendous stress at home and paranoidly blames his troubles on a neighborhood lady. In all his madness and tragedy he still is as entertaining as the moment you meet him. As always the book is a better read but cannot be translated straight onto film. See and read both. A fast ride through childhood hell with a jolly oblivious tour guide. As Brady and his life unwinds you'll miss subtle clues to what's going on and you'll watch again just to catch it all and to take in his manic energy.
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