The Butcher Boy
The Butcher Boy (1997)

Neil Jordan's superb adaptation of Pat McCabe's disturbing 1992 novel about a 12-year-old Irish boy's descent into madness. There's an amazing debut performance by young Eamonn Owens, with able support from Jordan regular… More

Directed By:
Rated: R
Running Time:
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Release Date: July 13, 1997
DVD Release Date: February 13, 2007
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Critic Score: 78% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
Mike Clark
USA Today

The movie is well-crafted and tightly assembled, but it's also loud and unmodulated.

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Emanuel Levy

Neil Jordan's most accomplished and brilliant film to date, Butcher Boy is satisfying as faithful literary adaptation and inense cinematic experience that brings to mind in theme Kubrick's equally brilliant Cloakwork Orange.

David Nusair
Reel Film Reviews

...clumsily lurches from one irrelevant, uninteresting episode to the next...

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Lisa Alspector
Chicago Reader

Director Neil Jordan and Patrick McCabe adapted McCabe's novel for this bland 1998 shocker that fails miserably as satire, character study, and anything else it might have aspired to.

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David Denby
New York Magazine/Vulture

I find myself in an embarrassing position: I think this is a great movie, but I'm not sure.

Ken Fox
TV Guide

Owens' remarkable, high-pitched performance and Jordan's lush, visionary style are perfectly suited to the material.

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Geoff Andrew
Time Out

Though the movie sometimes looks as if the authentic Irish wit, colour and blarney has been filtered through the sensibility of a Buñuel or Polanski, Jordan never allows the surreal/expressionist aspects to dominate.

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Edward Guthmann
San Francisco Chronicle

Instead of bathing his story in the warm, lyrical glow of an Irish lament, Jordan mixes domestic tragedy with fierce gallows humor and the stark horror of a Goya painting.

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Intensely colourful, but somehow soulless.

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More reviews for The Butcher Boy

Flixster Audience Score: 82% Flixster User Reviews
Michael S
Sharp and snappy dialogue, surprising emotional weight, and the perfect and crucial casting of Eamoon Owens (who completely owns the screen) create an… More
John Ballantine
A really disturbing film from Neil Jordan. I think the difficult subject matter made this into an unmarketable film but when the mood is right...give it a look.
Luke Baldock
Jordan's whimsical but dark presentation of a boy gradually becoming psychotic is perfectly disturbing. It captures both the fun and naiveness of… More
Joey Nevarez
I don't like writing about films I watch for class.
El Hombre Invisible
Neil Jordan's 1997 film The Butcher Boy has striking similarities to Truffaut's The 400 Blows as well as Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange, though… More
William Goss
Only barely more compelling than obnoxious.