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The Butcher Boy 1998

Subtitles
4.5 out of 5 stars (26) IMDb 7.2/10

A dark journey into the mind of a troubled Irish boy whose obsession with maintaining his family's honor leads him to commit a gruesome murder and eventually have a nervous breakdown. Starring Stephen Rea ("FearDotCom," "Interview With the Vampire"), Fiona Shaw (the "Harry Potter" movies, "The Avengers"), and pop-star Sinead O'Connor.

Starring:
Eamonn Owens, Sean McGinley
Runtime:
1 hour, 50 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Comedy
Director Neil Jordan
Starring Eamonn Owens, Sean McGinley
Supporting actors Peter Gowen, Alan Boyle, Andrew Fullerton, Fiona Shaw, Aisling O'Sullivan, Stephen Rea, John Kavanagh, Rosaleen Linehan, Anita Reeves, Gina Moxley, Niall Buggy, Ian Hart, Anne O'Neill, Joe Pilkington, Pat McGrath, Jer O'Leary, Pat Leavy, Janet Moran
Studio Warner Bros.
BBFC rating Suitable for 15 years and over
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 24 Oct. 2001
Format: VHS Tape
Ah, nostalgia. I remember it well. Trams and trolley buses, hopscotch and hula-hoops, Saturday morning pictures, a quarter of pear drops and a penny bus ride home. Sun kissed days in endless summers and the Aussies were just another team to be given a thrashing by the Gentlemen at Lords.
These, if we are old enough, are the images that we cling to; that's how it was.
Unless you are Francie Brady. Francie lives in a small town in Ireland at the beginning of the sixties. His mother, unable to cope with her dysfunctional son and abusive husband, is having a nervous breakdown. His father, who was once a promising musician ( sure, didn't he once meet Eddie Calvert?), is now a bitter and cynical drunk. In the outside world, Kennedy and Khrushchev are eyeball to eyeball over the Cuba crisis, and the threat of nuclear war looms. And that is just the start of Francie Brady's problems; he also has to contend with Mrs Nugent.
Mrs Nugent is refined; she has lived in England and has brought home some sophisticated manners. Mrs Nugent has a nice home, a respectable husband and a studious son. Her life is far removed from that of Francie and his family, and he despises everything that she stands for. When he steals some comics from her son Philip, she declares war on the Brady's.
The film follows Francie as he lurches from one crisis to another, immersing himself in a fantasy world of comic books and television. His only touchstone with reality is the friendship he has with his pal Joe. As long as he and Joe are together then everything is all right, partners and blood brothers they can take on the world. But Francie, holding on to his sanity with dreams of winning a million, trillion dollars, does not notice that Joe is changing.
This is an intelligent study of the human condition.
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By Marty From SF HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 20 Mar. 2007
Format: DVD
Francie Brady (amazing debut by actor Eamonn Owens) is a charismatic, hyperactive, highly imaginative Catholic boy that is prone to visions of the Virgin Mary (Sinead O'Connor). Subjected to a life with a suicidal mother and an alcoholic father, Francie darts and prances about his life in small town Ireland laying to truth all that there is about the hypocrisy of the village and the Catholic Church. His imagination goes from fantasies about atomic bombs to cowboys and Indians. His manic behavior lands him a stint in a Catholic reformatory where he meets the pervert priest and rallies the boy's hilarious jinks. Pity his neighbor, the overtly self-righteous Mrs. Shaw, who becomes the target of his psychotic retributions and path to his own righteousness in the name of the Virgin Mary. This film is shocking, hilarious and horrific all at once. Frankie somehow becomes a saint by the end of the film, and it's the slyest, most ironic expose on the Irish Catholic church in years.
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
This is a stand-out film.
There has been a slew of "Irish Catholic misery" films recently, but this is something really special from Neil Jordan.
The performances are exceptional - and it's great to see the peerless Fiona Shaw (Mrs Nugent) in one of her pre-Harry Potter film roles - but it's the script's knife-edge walk between black humour and tragedy that lifts it to "must see" status.
Why it hasn't been made available on DVD is a mystery - it's a great, great film.
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Format: VHS Tape
I will admit to being biased as this was filmed in my hometown, Clones (don't be fooled by the spelling, it's pronounced Clone-s) and is based upon a book written by someone from Clones, and based loosely on an event in Clones in the early 20th century. So just a little bias. However, I will say that I liked this film. Many said that the book is unfilmable, but Neil Jordan proved that one wrong. It is superbly acted, by newcomer Eamonn Owens (Jordan searched the country to find a Francie Brady, and found him only 20-odd miles away. He had never acted before.), Jordan staple Stephen Rea, Alan Boyle as Joe Purcell (another debut, and found in the same school as Owens) and the few random choices like Sinead O'Connor, Ardal O'Hanlon etc, and a small cameo by Patrick McCabe as well. The film boasts some of the blackest humour I have found - and I like my humour DARK.
All that is holding me back from giving this five stars is the knowledge that I am most probably biased, though to be honest I think it deserves it.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The film was very Irish, if that makes sense, not the diddly diddly fighting Irish that the Yanks like to think they are from, but the real Ireland with its black sense of humour. It helps if you have been to and know the Irish people to understand it, I grew up with them so do. but on the whole it's a good classic film. If you want a dry comedy from Ireland I would recommend "the Guarde". but this film is in my collection, not in my sell bin.
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Format: DVD
Having read Patrick McCabe's source novel some years ago, I was intrigued and slightly apprehensive as to how such a seemingly `un-filmable' book would be adapted. Turns out I needn't have worried, as the film itself brilliantly captures the spirit of the remote 1950s Irish community, plagued by the devilish `high' jinks' of neglected local adolescent Francie Brady. Central to the life of the film is an inspired performance from newcomer Eammon Owens; his Francie is a mixed-up bag of barely repressed energy and mischievousness, and along with his sidekick Joe he terrorises the hapless Phillip Nugent and Nugent's domineering mother, who Francie comes to see as his nemesis.
With grotesque priests, feckless parents, murder, mayhem, and an implicit backdrop of the fear of nuclear devastation, Butcher Boy is a wild and feral animal of a film, but one with a subtle charm and intelligence that lifts it from pastiche to powerful tragedy.
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