Borstal Boy

Director: Peter Sheridan

A stirring drama adapted from Brendan Behan’s autobiographical novel, Borstal Boy depicts Behan’s (Shawn Hatosy) time spent in a British reform school for young men– a borstal – during World War II. Imprisoned for smuggling dynamite to England as part of an IRA plot, Behan is found to be too young for execution and is instead detained, whereupon he meets Charlie (Danny Dyer), a gay man and member of the British navy. Behan’s nationalism commands him to reject Charlie’s friendship, but in the close quarters of the prison these barriers break down and Behan’s feelings for Charlie develop. Behan’s hatred is worn down too by Liz Joyce (Eva Birthistle), the daughter of the borstal’s warden and a painter whose sentiments appeal to the Irishman. This theme of common humanity is central, and director Peter Sheridan crafts around it a meaningful tale about people crossing the divides they have set up between one another. 

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