The Butcher Boy * Neil Jordan * 1997

When this film was anounced, I really wanted to see it. So when it played in the local filmhouse, I went with my brother. A filmhouse by the way (for those who don’t know) is a pub/restaurant/cinema in one where they usually play alternative/independant/smaller productions. Anyway, the filmhouse here has two rooms for films, a big one (which must have about 250 seats) and a smaller one (about 150). “The Butcher Boy” played in the big room, but only me and my brother were in it! This is really a shame, because the film is magnificent!

The young Francie Brady (Eamon Owens) is a son of an alcoholic “da” and a depressed mother. He is a total pain in the ass together with his best friend Joe Purcell (Alan Boyle). Living halfway in a fantasy-world in which he speaks to himself, Francie projects his frustrations on communists, aliens, but most of all, the family Nugent which he terrorises as amusement. More than once Francie is send to boarding school or jail, but always he finds a way to get out. In a way Francie is intelligent, but he definately misses something in his head. This goes downhill for him when his mother dies and when Joe doesn’t want to know him again. Francie goes to extremes by killing miss Nugent. The film ends with a vision.

“The Butcher Boy” is in basis a drama, but it contains so much grim humour, that it is usually anounced as a comedy. It is a very Irish film playing at the heights of the cold war. It is played brilliantely, the humour and magnificent and the story unbelievable yet credible. A wonderfull and underrated film of the director of “Interview With A Vampire”.

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