The Butcher Boy Reviews

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Super Reviewer
March 4, 2007
Sharp and snappy dialogue, surprising emotional weight, and the perfect and crucial casting of Eamoon Owens (who completely owns the screen) create an unforgettable character study; dark, funny, and full of life. Unique to it's core, and one of Jordan 's best films.
Super Reviewer
½ April 27, 2009
Jordan's whimsical but dark presentation of a boy gradually becoming psychotic is perfectly disturbing. It captures both the fun and naiveness of childhood, but also details the simple slip from mischievous trouble making into something far less wholesome. Owens gives an amazing performance, he plays it as a child the entire time. One of the most disturbing things is that he doesn't act disturbed. It's a child playing games, feeling betrayed and ultimately doing the only sensible (in his mind) thing to counteract the events in his life. A wonderful mix of a movie, that should have reached it's conclusion sooner.
Super Reviewer
October 28, 2007
A really disturbing film from Neil Jordan. I think the difficult subject matter made this into an unmarketable film but when the mood is right...give it a look.
Super Reviewer
½ September 11, 2008
I don't like writing about films I watch for class.
Super Reviewer
May 25, 2007
Only barely more compelling than obnoxious.
Super Reviewer
December 27, 2007
Wonderfully dark, comic tale of adolescence.
Super Reviewer
½ December 25, 2007
Eamonn Owens give such a powerful and committed performance, I would sometimes wonder if he was playing a character or just being himself. He truly makes this dark, twisted film stand-out.
Super Reviewer
½ November 22, 2009
The butcher boy was the story of a boy who turned into madness. The voice-over in present of this man who told his story of his youth in an Irish village in the early 60s. His father was a drunk, his mother was mentally ill, so it was nothing strange why the boy was behaving like that and the thing was, he did not know he was going crazy. He believed this was his normal life, even all his actions made him look like schizophrenic or a psychopath. Neil Jordan directed this movie with beautiful imagination. The movie portrayed dark, sad and even terrifying scenes in sometimes funny ways. Eamonn Owens fantastic performance made this movie a definitely must see.
Super Reviewer
March 1, 2008
THE BUTCHER BOY is not a children's film. It tackles many issues of the modern and traditional vision of Ireland. It is certainly not an easy film to understand, because of the historical content and the heavy Irish accent. But overall, the film is very interesting and disturbing at times. if you dont get into the story, well at least you will enjoy the astonishing performance by the little boy who plays the lead role. He could be hilarious and disturbing. As a young boy, his imagination and hallucination are all he has despite his miserable life.
Certainly a film not to miss!
October 14, 2012
A disturbing coming of age story, told from the point of view of a deranged boy. Somehow it just didn't resonate with me, I think it was mostly due to darkly comical tone of the movie. It worked quite well in the first half, but in the second half, the story was turning more and more into a farce, instead of conveying the tragic nature of the events.
½ September 6, 2011
I think for some reason this movie looks like ''A Clockwork Orange''. And I think the scene boy lies down in bandages covers his entire head except one eye is a reference to Alex !
June 5, 2010
Doesn't help the "redheads as short-fused maniacs" stereotype. I can't believe how well Eamonn Owens carried this, I actually forgave the somewhat shocking last bit of insanity from his character. It was disgusting, to say the least, but Owens and Rea (mostly his narration, although his screen time is great too, obviously) make you feel sorry for the guy almost the entire time.
October 25, 2006
This is one of my all time favorite movies. If you can find this and are disturbed like me you willl enjoy it. I bought a dvd copy at Big Lots for 3 dollars.
April 29, 2009
In Short: Nutcase Francie Brady tells the story of his childhood and the events that led up to him being institutionalised.

The Butcher Boy tells the story of Francie Brady, who is in trouble for ?what he done on Mrs. Nugent?, which means, in plain-talk, ?what he did to Mrs. Nugent? - for people who have a hard time understanding Irish lingo [I know I did, for the longest time. Then I started watching WAY too many Irish movies and reading WAY too many Irish books.] ? or those with dirty minds.

Shame on youse.

It starts with Francie and his friend, Joe, who play together like boys do. Then it introduces the uppity Mrs. Nugent and her son Philip. Francie and Joe trick Philip into giving them his comics, and Mrs. Nugent has a course word with Francie?s parents, his alcoholic father, Benny [Rhea] and his schizophrenic, suicidal mother, Annie, calling them pigs.

Well, for Francie, that insult is what set off the chain of events. One day after school, Francie finds his mother about to hang herself, and soon after, Annie is sent off to a mental institution, or, as he calls it, ?the garage?. After her return, Francie?s uncle Alo [Hart] pays them a visit, but Benny is so rude to him that he leaves and never returns. That same night, Francie runs away to Dublin, where he has a few adventures, then buys a present for his mother, but, returning home, finds that his mother is dead. She had drowned herself after he ran away from home.

Francie is convinced that the whole mess is the fault of the Nugents, so he lures Philip into an old chicken loft and tries to kill him, but is stopped by Joe. Not long after that, still stewing about the Nugents, Francie breaks into the Nugent house after they have left and trashes it, smashing plates, destroying cakes that Mrs. Nugent baked, writing ?PIGS? all over the house in lipstick, and finally - the coup de gras, as it were - having a schizophrenic school lesson and relieving himself on Mrs. Nugent?s floor.

What a charming lad.

For this bit of unexplainable bad behaviour, Francie is sent off to a reforming school run by priests, most notably Father Bubble [Gleeson, looking rather alarmingly thin, if anyone has seen 28 Days Later, Harry Potter, A.I., or any other notable Gleeson film]. Francie is told that all he has to do is prove that he?s not a bad lad anymore and he can go home, which sets him on the goal of earning the Francie-Brady-Not-A-Bad-Bastard-Anymore-Diploma. After asking to be made an altar-boy, Francie overhears a sermon about the Virgin Mary appearing to children and concocts a plan. The next day, Francie claims to have seen the Virgin Mary so he will not have to labour in the fields. Impressed and overjoyed, Bubble takes Francie and introduces him to another, higher-up father, who takes a certain shine to him. Well, he took more than just this ?shine? to Francie in the book, but you can?t win them all, I s?pose. That, and it would have made the film NC-17. And probably banned in America.

After the priest goes a little too far with his questionings and strange fancies [dressing Francie up in a bonnet? WEIRDO!] Francie tries to attack him with a letter-opener, and Bubble has to intervene. For having been molested [gasp!] by the priest, Francie is allowed to leave the reform school and go back home. When he gets back home, his best friend Joe has turned on him and made Philip Nugent his new best friend, leaving Francie alone in the world, but for his alcoholic father. Francie gets a job at the butcher?s, making him Francie Brady the Butcher Boy, and takes it on himself to do everything possible to make life the best he can for himself and his father.

The Butcher Boy was? bizarre. There really is no other word for it. The way it was presented made you scratch your head and wonder if the person writing it was schizophrenic, too. It was similar to the book, but for some reason, it just did not transition well from novel to screen? like many other books. Sadly. Though this one was a disaster waiting to happen. The book is written in a very unique way, so that it would be nearly impossible to make into a movie. Kudos for trying, though. For example, here is a passage from The Butcher Boy:

/There you are says the amazing Father Dom sorry father can?t stop to talk it was a different story now I reckoned with all these jobs I was important now and I had no time to waste gossiping. But especially to the likes of Roche who stopped me one day with the black bag and stands there looking at me, out of nowhere again of course. Look Roche, I wanted to say to him, if you want to spoil things go off and spoil them on somebody else. I?m a busy man and I have things to do. I?m in charge and I have no time for fooling about and talking shite to the likes of you so go on now about your business and leave people to do their work in peace. That was what I wanted to say to black eyebrows Roche./

Like I said. Impossible to put onscreen. But kudos for trying.

Overall, it?s good for anyone who read and liked the book, or even just read the book, or who is used to quirky Irish stuff, of with Neil Jordan?s style, or who liked Breakfast on Pluto? any of those, it might be worth taking a look at. If you?ve got all of those going for you, then it?s definitely worth renting.

But, uh? try not to take it to heart.
March 3, 2009
I always find Neil Jordan's films interesting to great. I admire this film for painting a most disturbing personality portrait. It nags at me. But very tough to watch.
February 13, 2007
Hadn't seen this movie in almost a decade so I rerented it because I remember it being pretty intense. And apparently, I hadn't forgotten anything. I recommend this movie solely based on my favorite line; spoken by the Virgin Mary, played by the one and only Sinead O'Conner, "Ah, Francie, for fuck sake."
½ June 12, 2007
I understand why this movie was hard to find at a video store....not much demand. I see why. I'm not saying I hated it but it was rather boring at times and some of the dialog was hard to make out due to the thick accents. I would not watch it again. The boy in this film however, delivered an outstanding performance. I was truly creeped out by his convincing portrayal of a very disturbed young man.
June 9, 2007
Set in Ireland in The 60's, This movie revovles around a "bad seed", a young boy who can't seem to be rehabilitated. You can't take your eyes away from this film until it's gruesome and shocking ending.
July 21, 2006
this flick reminds me alot of baxter, the french film that was basicly a biography of a bad dog. this blend really great charisma with truly hidious actions, making you feel far more for the villian than the poor villagers he terrorises.
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