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Review of the Film Adaptation of The Butcher Boy Essay

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Review of the Film Adaptation of The Butcher Boy

‘The butcher boy’ was made into a film adaptation in 1997 by Neill Jordan and author of the original book Patrick McCabe. The Novel was highly praised and controversial. Many saw it as the best account of Irish childhood. Its time frame is reminiscent of the
early 1960's. It is about a young boy called Francie Brady who becomes isolated from reality and eventually commit’s the ultimate sin of murder from this isolation he is experiencing. He is the victim of a dysfunctional family and of the effects of modernization in Ireland at this time and we soon realize that he has been raised in an atmosphere of inhumanity. Both Novel and film cover themes such as identity, the effects of modernization and foreign influences, the dysfunctional family, childhood friendship, community gossip and prejudice.
Director Neil Jordan made the film adaptation of McCabe’s ‘The Butcher Boy’ as close to the novel as he could possibly get. This film was a huge success for Neil Jordan and for the future of the Irish film. “The Butcher Boy” covered themes that were relevant to the 1960’s but also keeping with the themes that saturated Irish film in recent years such as the romanticised Ireland which Jordan depicted in a different way. This film showed another way of portraying the small town Irish, away from the stereotypes and romanticism of Ireland. The film does have omissions from the novel but Jordan brought along the general themes and thoughts that so often ran through the novel. Throughout the film we get an insight into Irish society at this breath taking time and its effects in particular the effects of modernisation in Ireland, specifically...


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...ad Bastards’ and once again talks to Our Lady, this does not happen in the novel.

To conclude I would say that the film adaptation of McCabe’s ‘The Butcher Boy’ was a very close one to the original story. As I argued, Jordan brought along the major themes running through the novel and made them work on a cinematic level. This was a major achievement for Jordan as a Director and for the Irish film industry. It was a story of childhood and psychosis rather then a “state of the nation” piece on contemporary Ireland (McLoone pg 216). Jordan attained this in my opinion. He achieved sympathy without making the story overly tragic and sad and miserable. This film was a fantastic version of the novel and I cannot add or subtract any parts to it that would have made it any better so overall it was a huge success as a film adaptation and as a blockbuster.


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