Skip to main content

THE BUTCHER BOY

Ireland, 1997 (MIFF 1998, International Panorama)

Director: Neil Jordan

Based on Patrick McCabe's contemporary literary masterpiece, The Butcher Boy tells the story of 12 year-old Francie Brady, a boy whose near-fantasy world adventures with his best friend Joe differ markedly from the brutality of his real life in a small Irish village. His father, Benny (Stephen Rea), is the hardest drinker in town, his mother struggles to keep the family just above the poverty-line, while the neighbour, Mrs Nugent seems to hold the boy responsible for just about everything wrong in the world.

"The Butcher Boy is a brilliantly bold, haunting evocation of an intensely troubled childhood. A remarkably faithful adaptation of Patrick McCabe's macabre 1992 novel, Jordan's tenth film is an ambitious one that remains intimately focused, a brutally honest exploration of a disturbed mind that is both horrific and darkly comic.

"The screenplay, a collaboration of novelist McCabe and Jordon, is admirably loyal to the book, structured as richly detailed, emotionally dense stream of consciousness. This is one of the major achievements of the film: while there are strong scenes and turning points, no single event or action gets preferential treatment.

"In the lead, Eamonn Owens, a child who has never acted before, is a natural... Like a rich Dickens novel, the film is sprinkled with standout character performances that give it its frenzied, seriocomic texture... The Butcher Boy is without doubt Jordan's most startlingly original and accomplished film to date." - Variety

Born in Ireland in 1950, Neil Jordan orignally founded the Irish Writers Co-operative in 1974, and made his film directorial debut with Angel (1983). He received an Oscar for Best Screenplay for his 1992 film The Crying Game. Other films include The Company of Wolves (1984), Mona Lisa (1987), We're No Angels (1988), Interview with the Vampire (1994) and Michael Collins (1996).

See also...

ANGEL

A metaphysical thriller with a protagonist who plays the saxophone like at angel and takes vengeance like an archangel - Danny is a member of a visiting show band in an Irish country dance hall ... More »

THE GUARD

"Scabrous, profane, violent, verbally adroit and often hilarious." - Hollywood Reporter ... The buddy cop genre gets an Irish reworking in The Guard, the gleefully chaotic debut feature from ... More »

DISCO PIGS

The embryonic love tale of Pig and Runt begins when they are bom on the same day in the same hospital. This film is based on the play by Enda Walsh and is the debut feature film for Irish filmmaker ... More »

Dead Meat

Any truly international film festival would welcome the inclusion of an Irish zombie movie, and MIFF has. [Dead Meat] represents yet another accomplished entry in the list of films such as [28 Days ... More »

COSMOS

A modern mosaic from the urban jungle, this is an omnibus film, six stories linked by the central character of Greek philosopher/taxi driver, Cosmos. Nightmares traumatise Morille, a young filmmaker ... More »

THE MIRROR

Jafar Panahi has once again utilised the services of youthful Mina Mohammed Khani, the utterly charming young thesp whose talents made The White Balloon the most popular feature of MIFF 1996. His ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director