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The Butcher Boy

4.3 out of 5 stars 95 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Butcher Boy (DVD)

Academy Award-winner director Neil Jordan (The Crying Game, Interview With the Vampire) probes deep inside the damaged emotional psyche of a child, where fantasy desperately strives to block out a brutal and depraved reality. But what happens when a small boy's most outlandish dreams of revenge are passionately realized as The Butcher Boy?Ireland, 1962. In a remote village, 12-year-old Francie Brady (Eamonn Owens) escapes his alcoholic father, Benny (Stephen Rea--The Crying Game), and mentally unstable mother, Annie (Aisling O'Sullivan--Michael Collins), by retreating into a haze of daydreams, relying on his "blood brother" Joe (Alan Boyle) as his sole link to the outside world. But when tragedy strikes, Francie slips deeper into surreal inhuman misery

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Special Features

  • Additional scenes
  • Theatrical trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Stephen Rea, Fiona Shaw, Eamonn Owens, Alan Boyle, Aisling O'Sullivan
  • Directors: Neil Jordan
  • Writers: Patrick McCabe, Neil Jordan
  • Producers: Neil Jordan, Redmond Morris, Stephen Woolley
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: February 13, 2007
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000JYW5AK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,298 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Butcher Boy" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on November 29, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
Slow moving plot? Oh, sure, it would be nice if abused children like Francie wasted no time and got straight to acting on their schizophrenic visions by the time they were, say, two or three years old. But let's face it, you have to be of a certain height to commit such acts, and at three he just would not have been tall enough.
The Butcher Boy is yet another masterpiece by Irish filmmaker Neil Jordan of The Crying Game fame. After seeing the movie four times, I went out to get Patrick Mc Cabe's book, but there were no copies left, so I can't discern which aspects of the movie were solely Jordan's vision and which were the work of Mc Cabe.
However, it is clear that the feeling throughout the movie is the work of Jordan. The surreal, cartoon-like ambience and the dark, macabre humor amount to nothing less than a brilliant way to present such otherwise deeply depressing material. And if it had been presented in an ordinary way, as the story of a disturbed child with frightful, self-absorbed parents who eventually snaps, it might not have amounted to much more than a Lifetime TV movie-and they're a dime a dozen, a commonness guaranteed to dilute the impact of such a tragic tale.
I originally rented the movie for two reasons-because it's Neil Jordan, and to stare at gorgeous Stephen Rea (can't blame me there), possibly the only actor on earth who needs not say a single word to convey volumes of feeling, and whose spoken word is a symphony of sound. The benefit is that I got to see some things the second and third and even fourth times that I never saw the first time through. Like for instance, when Francie's mother is about to hang herself, and she asks Francie if he'd ever let her down.
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Format: VHS Tape
There has been a welcome trend in recent years of films that follow the first person narrative of their source novels. Seemingly free of conventional morality they provide the viewer with the resplendent and singular worldview of their often deranged protagonists. The standouts have been Danny Boyle's Trainspotting 1996 from Irvine Welsh's novel and Fight Club 1999 from Chuck Palahniuk's novel. I haven't read Patrick McCabe's The Butcher Boy, but from the film's looney narration its easy to guess that the book was written in first person. In the hands of fellow Irishman Neil Jordan's suprisingly whimsical hands, the film is a hysterical tragedy if there ever was one.
The time is 1960s Ireland. And from the bizzare opening credits where Mack The Knife plays over the comic book images that so completely engulf the world of our young anti-hero, it is clear that this is not a clear eyed picture of Irish life, but Ireland according to Francis Brady (Eamonn Owens). He's quite a scallywag this lad, he marches through the town along side his best friend Joe Purcell as if they owned it. Surrounded by Irish religious hysteria and John Wayne movies the villains in their world are the detestably snobbish and English accented Mrs.Nugent(Fiona Shaw), Aleins and Communists(in that order). According to the adult Francie's franctic narration his Da Brady (Stephen Rea) is "the best musician in the world" and his Ma is certainly the kindest and most loving of mothers. It is indeed a wonderful life, or a wonderful fantasy.
It becomes depressingly clear that Francie's father is a violent alcoholic, his mother a depressed suicidal and most importantly that his friend Joe is embarrassed by him.
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Format: VHS Tape
Neil Jordan's difficult-to-watch story about the all-too-common effects of violence on children. Francie Brady is growing up in Carney, Ireland, and enters adolence during the Cold War. He watches the mushroom clouds on the telie and hates the Commies. His drunk of a father, a talented musician who works in a slaughter house, beats both Francie and his mother. Francie bullies a school mate and the boy's mother calls him a pig. The audience gets to watch as these influences steadily take hold of Francie's psyche.

Eamon Owens (couldn't have been more than 15 yo when the movie was being filmed) who plays Francie, is so good, it's scary.
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By A Customer on February 9, 2002
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
When will this masterpiece finally be released on DVD? When!? How can 'Monkeybone' be on DVD and not 'Butcher Boy'? This is the best damn 'kid gone psycho' movie since Children of the Corn. Actually, that's a misnomer. This is simply the most provocative, well-written, and well-photographed cold-war parable ever made. Put it out on DVD, Mrs. Nugent, or pay the toll!
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By A Customer on February 26, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
I hope I don't use the term loosely, and at the risk of hyperbole and excessive adjective use, but this is a great movie. Hilarious and heartbreaking. It's one of the smartest, most fascinating and moving pictures I've seen. I can't think of a better made picture or a more accurate, poignant take on both childhood and dementia. Dark but not black, and neither cynical nor a shallow emotionally manipulating tear-jerker, which may account for this pitch-perfect adaptation never being heard of upon release in theaters. The young man playing the lead is stunning, the other actors excellent, the sets, costumes, and direction dead on. I later took the book out of the library, so blown away was I. This is, to trot out an old word, art.
That being said, release on DVD!
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