Film Commentary [4-21-99]
Kid Psycho - - The Butcher Boy
Genre: Drama/Psychological/Comedy

This film revolves around the life of Francie Brady, a young boy who is an early 1960's Irish juvenile deliquent. Francie and his friend, Joe, are the local troublemakers in smal town in Ireland. But, there's more to Francie than one would know looking at him. He's going nuts. At the beginning of the film his mother is already loony and after being released from the hospital does herself in. His father is a useless alcoholic.

Francie has it in for Mrs. Nugent, a middle class lady with a son whom Francie and Joe pick on. Francie's spare time is spent in and out of juvenile detention centers, which, apparently in Ireland, are run by Catholic priests. All these factors seamingly sends the boy over the edge and he brutally butchers Mrs. Nugent and tries to burn himself up in his house.

Director Neil Jordan (Michael Collins, The Crying Game) paints a picture of hyperbole. Despite these domestic problems, Francie maintains a cheery disposition. Little do the townsfolk know, however, but much of Francie’’s cheeriness is born out of insanity, which includes schizophrenia and the seeing of religious visions. In fact, the ladies of the town find him charming and delightful to be around. Francie always seems happy, energetic and ready for action, yet boiling up inside of him are hatred and violence. It's that hyperbole which creates so much tension in the movie, just wondering what he'll do and when he'll do it.

The film is narrated by an older Francie, one who has spent his life in a prison for the mentally insane. His narration is humorous and ironic as Francie sometimes talks to his older self.

The film's main problem is that it lags in parts. Occasional scenes are drawn out and lengthy, and you just want the kid to pick up the damn butcher's knife and start hacking!, just to make the film increase its pace. Its greatest advantage is that you just don't know what Francie is going to do next,but my biggest problem with the film is that it doesn't give a sufficient reason for Francie's eventual insane actions. He's not surrounded by evil people or even in a gang. There seems to be no cause for his growing insanity other than a disfunctional family.

Grade = B

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