10 user 4 critic

The Butterfly Tattoo (2009)

"Chris Marshall met the girl he was going to kill on a warm night in early June, when one of the colleges in Oxford was holding its summer ball." A chance meeting with Jenny at an Oxford ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (novel)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Duncan Stuart ...
Chris Marshall
Jessica Blake ...
Aidan Magrath ...
Barry Miller
Inspector Fletcher
Dan Morgan ...
Piers Hawthorne
Shazadee Beghum ...
Peter Easterbrook ...
Alvin Addo-Quaye ...
Richard Hollingworth ...
Debra Baker ...
Sue Miller
Claire Ford ...
Antony da Silva ...
Tommy Sanchez
Jonathan Higgs ...
Simon Brandon ...
Mercutio (as Simon Nuckley)


"Chris Marshall met the girl he was going to kill on a warm night in early June, when one of the colleges in Oxford was holding its summer ball." A chance meeting with Jenny at an Oxford party leaves seventeen-year-old Chris with hope for a summer romance - and no premonition of trouble. Busy with his job and soon in love with Jenny, whose cheerful surface belies the dark uncertainty of her past, Chris misses all the signs of danger. Before he knows it, he's caught in the sinister web of a criminal whose desire for revenge crushes those who stand in his way. Written by Philip Pullman

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


From the moment they fell in love, secrets from a hidden past would tear them apart


R | See all certifications »


Official Sites:



Release Date:

17 April 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Philip Pullman's The Butterfly Tattoo  »


Box Office


€250,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film's entire budget ($400,000) was raised by publicly selling shares. The movie was fully funded within two days. See more »


References The Golden Compass (2007) See more »


Six Feet of Rope and Revenge
Written by Robert Stevenson, Lewis Jones, Alistair Hussein & Spencer Walker
Performed by Silent Film (as A Silent Film)
Licensed courtesy of A Silent Film
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User Reviews

Initial thoughts

I enjoyed the film wholly and while it's been years since I read the original source material, a novel by Philip Pullman originally titled "The White Mercedes," I felt it was a very good adaptation. I must confess that The Butterfly Tattoo/White Mercedes was never a favourite among Pullman's stories (I have very mixed feelings about his contemporary novels in general). In this vein, my complaints with regards to the plot probably echo some of the more negative reviews, although I felt it carried well enough in the film. As a viewer with a vague memory of the original plot and setting, I sometimes found myself trying to remember how characters managed without mobile phones back in the early 90s (this is purely tangential).

Otherwise, I felt the film was one of the better films I've seen this past year. Although the actors were obviously new, they were good, and to my amateur eye, gave very sincere performances. In combination with the beautiful cinematography (I'm glad I was able to see this in widescreen as intended), I gather that was a pretty solid movie on the part of the director Phil Hawkins and the producers. I am even more impressed due to the educational nature of the film project for many of the cast and crew members.

My only major complaint that would prevent me from giving the film a higher rating pertains to the use of flashbacks, especially as employed in the second half of the film. While I have no objection to the use of flashbacks in general, and felt that they were very well employed in the retelling stories of the past, they seemed rather clichéd and unnecessary in the depiction of characters' reflection upon a relationship that had developed over merely days over the course of the film.

Overall a very good film. Congratulations to all those who worked so hard to put it together.

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