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Movie Review: Boy A

Alternate Title: The Past Stays Present

Story: What should be done about children who commit heinous crimes? Director John Crowley takes us slowly down the path to the complicated answer of this question in a very affecting film. It was written by Mark O’Rowe and based on the novel by Jonathan Trigell. Trigell was inspired to write the novel after the murder of three year of James Patrick Bulger in 1993. He was abducted and brutally murdered by two 10-year-old boys, Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, in Merseyside, England.

We meet 24 year old 'Jack' as he re-enters society after spending 14 years in prison for a serious crime. Crowley slowly and deliberately metes out the story so we already have affection for this young man before we know the nature of his past offense. Using clever snippets of flashbacks combined with his new life we get to understand the nature and back story of 'Jack'.

The film is about the possibilities of redemption and forgiveness in a society, where despite the laws of the land - human nature tends to take over. This is a hard hitting film and not for the squeamish.

The trailer gives too much of the storytelling away, but here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VaSQNUt9H4

Acting: Andrew Garfield as Jack Burridge is amazing. His portrayal of this damaged youth is right on target. Peter Mullan as case worker Terry, is wonderful too. Katie Lyons as girlfriend Michelle is perfect. Taylor Doherty as Philip, the youthful other child offender is brilliantly frightening.

Trivia: Peter Mullan won best leading actor at the Cannes Film Festival in 1998 for My Name Is Joe. After appearing in Braveheart, Scotsman Mullan said "Braveheart was a real big deal. In our lifetime we had never seen the Scots as the heroes. They were always the funny guy or the drunk or whatever." Mullan also directed the fabulous film, The Magdalene Sisters.

Predilection: I like to see award wining films. (BAFTA) - The British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

Critters: A fish who does not fare well.

Food: Talk of pannini's and Mexican fare but none eaten.

Sex Spectrum: A fumbling first sex scene.

Blatant Product Placement: NIKE

Soundtrack: Tense

Opening Titles: Simple type.

Visual Art: All of the interiors are bare.

Theater Audience: Nine people in total. We were a third of the audience.

Weather: It is England. It seemed gray the entire time.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: The entire plot outline is a hard topic not to squirm about.

Drift Factor: I did not drift at all.

Predictability Level: Moderate.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: It was BAFTA worthy, but I think this film is too much for the US mentality.

Soap Box: Crimes committed by juveniles is a tough topic. Rehabilitation and expunging records are necessary in a civilized society.

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine.

Length: Under two hours.