The Butcher Boy (1997)

Imdb Ranking 7.0

An early outing by Neil Jordan aet in the early 1960's has young Francie Brady living with his alcoholic father (Stephen Rea) and a mother who is suicidal and depressed. He lives in a fantasy world with his friend Joe. They watch 'The Fugitive' and the 'The Lone Ranger'.

Francie certainly has the gift of gab, and he doesn't have much good to say about anyone. He tries to charge Mrs. Nugent and her son Phillip a toll for walking down the street. When his mother was institutionalized he told people she went to the garage for a tune up.

When his Mom comes home she makes hundreds of cakes for her Uncle Alo's visit. When Uncle Alo gets in from his job in London the cakes and the liquor is flowing. Mom dances and sings and Dad sits and drinks. At the end of the party Dad starts screaming at Uncle Alo and Francie goes off in to one of his fantasies. Then Dad hits Mom.

Francie heads in to Dublin and is amazed at he pace. He steals some money out of a cash register and heads off to the movies. While he was away, his mother died and he walks in on the funeral procession. His father says: "They found her at the bottom of the river near the madhouse. Wasn't enough to put her there, was it? You had to wreck her funeral too."

Francie lures Phillip to a barn with the promise of returning his stolen comics and then proceeds to beat him up. Joe happens upon them and sts Phillip free. He makes makes Francie swear to leave Phillip alone, but is too late. Two of Mrs. Nugent's brothers come to teach him a lesson and Francie is almost drowned. When Mrs. Nugent left the house Francie goes in and trashes the place. When Mrs. Nugent walks in on him the police take him off and he is put in to a reform school.

Francie gets a letter from Joe, and Joe has begun to hang around with Phillip and he worries about it. Francie tries to reform and becomes an altar boy. Then out in the field he says he sees Our Lady. As he prays in the field the priests pat his head. Our Lady (Sinead O'Connor) starts talking to Francie.

When Dad comes to visit the priest tells him that "He's a credit, Mr. Brady." When Francie gets out he starts working at the butchers. He is a Butcher Boy. When Mrs. Nugent's brothers come round again, Joe says that he is not hanging around with Francie anymore, and Francie gets very upset. When Joe starts hanging around with Phillip he gets even madder.

It seems like Francie's father has died, although Francie just leaves him sitting on the couch. He tells the doctor, who comes calling, that his father is off to England. With President Kennedy talking in the background during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Joe comes home to his dead father. He then gets picked up by the police and is given a sedative and dreams that the Communists have bombed them and that the world had ended.

We then see Francie talking to a doctor and telling him about aliens. Later Sinead as Our Lady sings to Francie. later Francie goes to the boarding school that Joe has been sent to, trying to take him with him. Joe tells the priest that it is not a friend of his, and Francie is crushed.

The town is getting geared up for an appearance by Our Lady, announcing the end of the world. Francie then pulls a gun on Mrs. Nugent and shoots her in the head. He puts her body under the rotten cabbages. Francie gets arrested and then soon escapes from custody while Mack the Knife plays in the background.

It's very hard to write a drama about a very sad situation and make it funny at the same time. Somehow, this movie manages to accomplish it. A very different, a very dark comedy that is a really good movie.