The Butcher Boy

  • Film
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Set in an Irish town in the early '60s, Jordan's film of Patrick McCabe's novel centres on troubled teen Francie Brady (Owens), a lippy lad who withdraws from family strife - dad (Rea) is almost permanently drunk, mum (O'Sullivan) sliding towards insanity - into fantasies inspired by comics, sci-fi movies and TV shows, and into blood brother pacts with best pal Joe (Boyle). His renown as an ill-mannered hothead, however, is such that he's denied access to his friend. Moreover, after a spell in a church-run remand home, he returns to find his family in tatters. This consistently surprising, even shocking work moves from sly social comedy to something more darkly disturbing as Francie's sense of control begins to crumble. Though the movie sometimes looks as if the authentic Irish wit, colour and blarney has been filtered through the sensibility of a Buñuel or Polanski, Jordan never allows the surreal/expressionist aspects to dominate.

Release details

Duration: 110 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Neil Jordan
Screenwriter: Neil Jordan, Patrick McCabe
Cast: Stephen Rea
Fiona Shaw
Eamonn Owens
Alan Boyle
Niall Buggy
Brendan Gleeson
Gerard McSorley
Ardal O'Hanlon
Milo O'Shea
Sinéad O'Connor
Aisling O'Sullivan
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