Wednesday, May 11, 2016

917. The Butcher Boy

The Butcher Boy
1997
Directed by Neil Jordan









The Butcher Boy is not to be confused with The Butcher Boys, which is some kind of torture porn film based on A Modest Proposal.  I accidentally started to watch the wrong movie, but luckily, I caught my mistake fairly quickly.  If there is one essay I don't want to see acted out, it's A Modest Proposal.

Francie Brady is a twelve year old bully who routinely terrorizes both children and adults with the help of his best friend Joe Purcell.  Francie's father is an alcoholic and his mother is emotionally damaged.  When Francie's behavior goes too far, he is sent to a reform school, where he fantasizes about the Virgin Mary and is molested by a priest.  When he finally returns home, things are a bit...different than he remembered.

Well, this kid might be one of the most annoying children I have ever seen in a film.  At least he didn't try to be overly cute but I still wanted to smack his ginger head.  The Book says that Fiona Shaw's character, Mrs. Nugent, is the town busybody.  I didn't get that at all.  She seemed like an ordinary woman that was terrorized by two young boys.  Were we supposed to be cheering for his sadistic behavior toward her?  I really hope not.

Perhaps we were supposed to sympathize with Francie because of his awful childhood.  At one point, one of the characters declared that he never had chance.  I struggle with that attitude a little bit; it's not like because he had a shitty childhood he was fated to defecate in Mrs. Nugent's living room.  It was definitely hard for me to watch.

I do think the questions posed by this film were interesting.  Where is the line between normal childish playing and complete insanity?  Still, I don't think this movie deserves its place on The List.

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

Eamonn Owens had no previous acting experience before appearing in this film.

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