Movies that are slightly off.
The Butcher Boy
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. When Francie's world turns to madness, he tries to counter it with further insanity, with dire consequences.
Kids shouting 'fuck off!' to fish in a river is the best thing ever.
Neil Jordan's finest film, I believe. At once a pitch black comedy, and genuine tragedy, 'The Butcher Boy', is the best film about a sociopath told in the first person. Our protagonist, although a monster, is undeniably sympathetic, which is a feet that many master filmmakers have attempted, Kubrick and Scorcese included, and from my point of view fallen short. I'm sorry but Francis Brady is a far more interesting than Travis Bickle or 'Alex', or fucking Jordan Belfort, and not to mention immensely more human in his portrayal. I saw this the same year as Thomas Vinterberg's 'The Celebration', and my perception of storytelling via the movies was forever turned on it's head. Deeply disturbing, deeply funny, and deeply honest about mental illness in a way that few films ever come within a country mile of. Probably my favorite film.
This movie tries so hard to be Peter Jackson's masterpiece, Heavenly Creatures, except it tries doing so without the psychological complexity, the innovative visual effects, or the powerful performances.
Two crucial aspects lacking from The Butcher Boy, that Heavenly Creatures nailed, are a motive and believability. It's impossible to empathize with Francie, as his descent into madness is unconvincing and unclear, rendering me unable to feel any sense of shock when he commits his vicious murder acts.
From the very beginning of the film, Eamonn Owens plays Francie with ear splitting volumes, shouting seemingly all of his lines at the top of his lungs in every situation under every setting, trampling over every emotional nuance the script might've contained, and evaporating any line between the character's state of sanity and state of madness. The end effect is simply nausea.
not so sure how to say this - i should have loved it - childhood psychological trauma, drunk irish dad, a dead mother, (war-time era?) vintage-aesthetic nostalgia, neurotic thin woman -yet there was something about it that didn't quite gel with me. perhaps it was supposed to leave the viewer feeling a bit unhinged, distanced, haunted in a 'don't know how i feel about that' sort of a way. it didnt make me as sad as id hoped (weird huh?) or as angry as i'd've liked to be - the kiddie is crazy thats for sure but it seems like its not really anyones fault in terms of the characters we experience. again, perhaps that was the point, without anyone…
Eamonn Owens puts in a great performance as the boy disturbed by the death of his depressive Ma (Aisling O'Sullivan) and the violent moods of his alcoholic Da (Stephen Rea, very good), and the voices in his head - and although this sounds like a whole heap of fun for a movie plot, 'The Butcher Boy' manages to present this dysfunctional story in a way which makes it blackly comic.
Featuring a frightening Fiona Shaw as Mrs Nugent (whose fate gets Owens sent to a mental institution), Sinéad O'Connor (surprisingly effective) as a foul-mouthed version of the Blessed Mother Mary, Milo O'Shea as a perverted priest, and a supporting cast who populate this film with characters, this film remains a memorable, if tricky, piece of cinema.
Francie Brady grows up in Ireland in the early 1960s with an alcoholic father and a mentally ill mother. Francie is a charismatic bigmouth, but beneath the charm is a very disturbed young boy. Series of events then lead to Francie slowly slipping further into insanity, eventually leading to tragic events.
This is a disturbing movie, made even more disturbing by the fact that the story is told from Francie’s point of view as it were a lighthearted comedy. Even very violent scenes are played as if they were slapstick comedy. This gives the film a very distinctive look and feel.
Eamonn Owens gives an unbelievably good performance as Francie Brady. It’s not often that you see a fourteen-year old actor give such a great performance.
Curiosa película sobre un niño con mucho carácter, inteligente, abstraído y carismático, que se ve perjudicado por una situación familiar desastrosa.
Es interesante como la película no se aleja de la ingenua visión del protagonista y su forma de afrontar los conflictos, sin ser consciente del todo de su situación y sus actos, dejándose llevar por su imaginación.
Eamonn Owens como Francie Brady es brutal, una actuación sorprendente, y más tratándose de un niño que en las películas suelen tirar hacia lo irritante.
Lo que me ha fallado es que la veo desordenada, que no termina de encaminarse hacia lo interesante del argumento y toma muchos caminos sin decantarse por uno, eso confunde y distancia.
Como curiosidad: el conserje del internado está doblado por Luis Marín, que también presta su voz a Willie, el conserje de "Los Simpson". Y eso.
The Butcher Boy is such a strange movie, but it's one that works. I've never seen a movie reveal its true nature particularly in the way this film does. It opens as a borderline sentimental look at a certain period in Irish history (early 60s) with a Huck Finn-ish protagonist, but as the film goes on, the film slowly reveals that Francie, our redheaded Huck, may have flights of fancy, but they are not normal for a child. In many ways, they are disturbed. This film is fractured, perfectly putting Francie's state of mind as the film goes on onto the screen.
But it's still strange.
This is a movie that needs to be seen, in how it devours pop culture and history and churns out this boy's state of mind. This film works as a character study and an allegory, and everything in between.
Curioso film, da apprezzare soprattutto per la voglia e l'entusiasmo che il regista dimostra ad ogni inquadratura e snodo narrativo: diversi inserti grotteschi, comici, fantastici e mistici si vanno ad intersecare in questo bizzarro e amaro percorso formativo di un giovane e grintoso irlandese, sospeso tra disagi familiari, amicizie tradite, incubi rossi e pressanti istituzioni bigotte e ipocrite. Si resta a volte spiazzati dallo stile utilizzato e dalle stranianti musiche, ma indubbiamente resta un'operazione affascinante. Bravo il giovane protagonista.
(8/8 is "Great")
The brightest seriously dark film I've seen since Memories of Matsuko, but unlike the latter The Butcher Boy manages to be solidly tragic, humorous and enjoyable throughout.
Ah, the wistful days when psychotic young men were just little scamps in need of direction and their fathers were alcoholic and abusive. Don't you miss it?
This one was recommended by the incomparable Camo. It is definitely a solid movie. Good characters and very effecting at moments. So overall I mostly enjoyed it and would recommend to anyone who enjoys coming of age stories. I do have a couple of issues with it, admittedly the biggest one is not the fault of the film. That is, besides the ending I couldn't help thinking that I have seen this story on film many times before. It is hard to shake that feeling when watching a film, and if you have films you feel very fondly about that fit that mold it is very hard for you to glean more out of the one you are currently watching.…
i'll level with you - in this film i am basically philip nugent. and it's testament to how good neil jordan's direction is and particularly how extraordinary eamonn owens' performance as francie is that i still find myself totally in sympathy with him. despite everything, every second of his descent into insanity is felt with deep pathos and tragedy and, perversely, hilarious black comedy. it's a bit of an all irish superstar cast as well and it's testament to jordan's direction that all involved throw themselves into it at full tilt... a great film
As a rambunctious youth with a fantastical imagination and the disturbing capacity for carnage, Eamonn Owens is captivating as the unstable Francie. When he's not imagining a whimsical Ireland full of other-worldly charms, his focus turns to savagery at the drop of a hat (or possibly quicker as it seems Francie is incapable of sitting still for even a moment). When his latter tendencies come to a horrifying end, the result is fiercely unsettling to behold.
Despite the terrific performance from Owens, this film really struggles to establish its identity. This is not to say that a film must adhere to a certain mood and never falter from its path. That would be ridiculous. However, the frantic shifts in tone…
Ambitious adaptation of what I've heard is one of those fabled "unfilmable" novels. Mostly it made me want to read the novel, so maybe it was. The film's tone is all over the place, most of the performances felt lacking in shades - one-note histrionics here, somnambulistic dourness there. Well shot, though. Great photography and art direction. Looking forward to the book.
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