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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).Written by
Mark Smith <email@example.com>
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.
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