Unable to listen to her constant stream of accusations, the boy rakes his revenge by breaking into her house several times - with the result that Francie is sent to an approved school. Francie makes no friends at the reformatory, however, on the contrary, his swaggering soon means that the other boys are against him and this increases his isolation. More and more Francie escapes into the world of his own imagination. When he comes home again he finds a job working at the local slaughterhouse where naturally, he is given all the dirtiest, bloodiest chores.
Whilst he was still in the reform school Francie dung steadfastly to his vision of renewing his friendship with his bosom pal Joe; however, Joe has changed quite a bit since he knew him and now spends his time playing with other children. Francie is surprised to see that even Philip Nugent, his hated neighbour's son, is now well-
Left alone, Francie's world collapses. His last bit of anchorage gone, what was once a lively imagination now begins to produce crazed delusions which push him closer and closer to the edge. In the end, Francie flips and steers towards the inevitable catastrophe.
Based on the award-winning novel by Patrick McCabe (who co-wrote the screenplay with director Neil Jordan), THE BUTCHER BOY is set in a small Irish town in the sixties, focusing on the fantasy world created by 12-year-old Francie Brady (Eamonn Owens) to offset the tedium and increasingly unstable reality of his actual life.
His father (Stephen Rea) is an alcoholic and his mother (Aisling O'Sullivan) is beginning to lose her tenuous grip on reality. As Francie's real life falls apart, his fantasy world takes over, and his reaction to events around him produce increasingly disturbing results, particularly when he decides to get his own back on his nosy neighbour, Mrs Nugent (Fiona Shaw).
Neil Jordan continues to write fiction and has published four books to date.
Cast & Crew
Directed by: Neil Jordan
Written by: Neil Jordan, Patrick McCabe
Produced by: Redmond Morris, Stephen Woolley
Cinematography: Adrian Biddle
Editing: Tony Lawson
Production Design: Anthony Pratt
Costume Design: Sandy Powell
Hair & Make-up: Morgag Ross
Original Score: Elliot Goldenthal
Main Cast: Stephen Rea (Da Brady), Fiona Shaw (Mrs. Nugent), Alan Boyle (Joe Purcell), Aisling O'Sullivan (Ma Brady), Eamonn Owens (Francie Brady)
Nominations and Awards
- European Cinematographer – Prix Carlo Di Palma 1998
- European Film 1998
- EFA Feature Film Selection 1998