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The Butcher Boy

Director: Neil Jordan

Ireland-U.S.A.| 1997. Colour. Dolby digital stereo. 109 min.


To mark the beginning of a regular series of Irish Film Archive articles in Film Ireland, we’re showing Neil Jordan’s unsettling masterpiece The Butcher Boy. Readers of the ?lm journal recently voted this adaptation of Pat McCabe’s novel as best Irish Film of all time. Starring Jordan regular Stephen Rea and newcomer Eamonn Owens, it is a darkly humorous tale of a tragic childhood in an insular, rural Irish community of the 1960s. Francie Brady (Owens) is an emotionally disturbed 12-year-old boy from a dysfunctional family, whose inner anger and paranoia lead to increasingly bizarre and violent behaviour. Like McCabe’s novel, Jordan’s ?lm makes excellent use of cultural reference of the period—cold-war paranoia, UFOs, atomic bombs, comics—that inspire the surreal and fantastic world Francie inhabits in his attempt to escape the terrible reality of his life.

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