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Neil Jordan

Byzantium – Neil Jordan (2012)

  • drama

The cover suggests (to me at least) more of a sci-fi or perhaps an “Enter The Void” drama, but “Byzantium” is actually much more like “Only Lovers Left Alive“: a slow and minimalist vampire drama.

Eleanor is a very exuberant woman who has no problems with making money by prostituting herself. Clara is the complete opposite. Still the two have been together for a long time. A long, long time as the viewer soon finds out.

In flashbacks Jordan tells the story of the two women and other characters they have encountered in their lives. Of course the past catches up with Eleanor and Clara to bring some tension to the film.

“Byzantium” is an alright drama with thriller elements.

The Good Thief – Neil Jordan (2002)

  • crime

The last film of my box with “zeros” classics. None of them were really good, but neither was any of them really bad. “The Good Thief” features an actor who played in many films in these days, but none good enough to really remember the man: Nick Nolte.

Nolte plays the character referred to in the title of the film and does this very well. Bob is a known criminal and drug addict who somehow manages to be on good terms with everybody. This might be because he tries to help people.

While trying to help Anne, Bob and a couple of colleagues set up a plan for a big “heist” while everybody is watching them. A film develops in which the viewer is left to guess how Bob is going to pull off his plan. This is filmed with subtle humor and a descent atmosphere.

Not a bad film, but just one to watch on TV on some lost night or something.

The Butcher Boy * Neil Jordan * 1997

When this film was anounced, I really wanted to see it. So when it played in the local filmhouse, I went with my brother. A filmhouse by the way (for those who don’t know) is a pub/restaurant/cinema in one where they usually play alternative/independant/smaller productions. Anyway, the filmhouse here has two rooms for films, a big one (which must have about 250 seats) and a smaller one (about 150). “The Butcher Boy” played in the big room, but only me and my brother were in it! This is really a shame, because the film is magnificent!

The young Francie Brady (Eamon Owens) is a son of an alcoholic “da” and a depressed mother. He is a total pain in the ass together with his best friend Joe Purcell (Alan Boyle). Living halfway in a fantasy-world in which he speaks to himself, Francie projects his frustrations on communists, aliens, but most of all, the family Nugent which he terrorises as amusement. More than once Francie is send to boarding school or jail, but always he finds a way to get out. In a way Francie is intelligent, but he definately misses something in his head. This goes downhill for him when his mother dies and when Joe doesn’t want to know him again. Francie goes to extremes by killing miss Nugent. The film ends with a vision.

“The Butcher Boy” is in basis a drama, but it contains so much grim humour, that it is usually anounced as a comedy. It is a very Irish film playing at the heights of the cold war. It is played brilliantely, the humour and magnificent and the story unbelievable yet credible. A wonderfull and underrated film of the director of “Interview With A Vampire”.