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Movie Review: Borstal Boy

Story: I can hear you scratching your head and asking Where does she find these films? Longtime LOBO readers know my passion for all things Irish so when I read of yet another film released about the troubles...I am there.

Borstal Boy is 'inspired by' or loosely based on writer Brendan Behan's memoir of his days in a British Reform School when he was 16, during the early 1940's. For those not familiar with Behan this film will be a sweet coming of age film (albeit though he was an IRA gun-toting member) and a quasi-endearing nostalgia piece. For those Behan fans who know his checkered past which includes more imprisonment for a shooting, drunken bouts and rages and a premature death at age 41 from the ravages of alcoholism and diabetes...you will probably not recognize this young Behan.

Director Peter Sheridan brings us a conventional view of the sweeter side of the British Reform system and how it tried to 'change' its young charges. There are the usual stereotypes and vignette realizations but Sheridan carefully pulls back most of the time so that what could have become overly sappy stays charming.

Should you go to see this film? I guess since this is St. Patrick's week it would be healthier than getting drunk.

Acting: For some reason they cast American actor Shawn Hatosy (Down to You, Anywhere but Here) as the young Behan. Not that he did not do a fine job but I wonder why they thought a real Irish actor cold not play this role. The rest of the cast was just fine although Michael York looked like he was medicated.

Critters: None.

Food: No food...but lots of cigarettes and some booze.

Visual Art: The warden's daughter is a budding young artist and is some very inadequate student art.

Blatant Product Placement: None.

Soundtrack: Don't remember.

Opening Titles: Simple black and white

Theater Audience: a few diehard Irish fans.

Squirm Scale: 2 - there was an 'almost rape' scene that was creepy.

Oscar Worthy: No.

Nit Picking: Some of the actors had such thick accents that it needed subtitles.

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine. There is probably an entire section at the video store on Ireland. How about renting anything that stars Daniel Day Lewis?

Length: 2 hours