Rough Content in a Sad, Depressing Tale
Release Date: July 23, 2008
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Peter Mullan,
Katie Lyons, Shaun Evans,
Jeremy Swift, Anthony Lewis,
Alfie Owen, and Taylor Doherty
Runtime: 100 minutes
Distributor: The Weinstein Co.
Director: John Crowley
Executive Producer: Liza Marshall
Producer: Lynn Horsford, Nick Marston
and Tally Garner
Writer: Mark O’Rowe
Address Comments To:Bob and Harvey Weinstein
The Weinstein Company
345 Hudson Street, 13th Floor
New York, NY 10014
Phone: (646) 862-3400
Fax: (917) 368-7000
Eric Wilson is a young man who has just been secretly released from prison after spending years there serving time for the brutal murder of a girl that he may or may not have committed when he was a boy. The second boy involved in the murder committed suicide, though a flashback shows that he was actually hanged by some vigilantes.
Eric has apparently been rehabilitated, though his memories of what led up to the killing still haunt him. His social worker, Terry, hides his identity and gets Eric, who’s now calling himself Jack, a delivery job.
The movie shows flashbacks of what led Eric to become buddies with the other killer, who probably was the one really responsible for the murder. Meanwhile, Eric seems to truly be able to start a new life, making friends with a co-worker and falling in love with a young woman working in the office. Also, Terry, the social worker, renews his relationship with his wayward but lazy son. Local tabloids, however, are hot on the trail of Boy A, the name given Eric while he was on trial as a youngster, to hide his identity.
This movie is very well acted. The filmmakers succeed at making Eric’s story sympathetic but they have a depressing, fatalistic ending. They hint, however, that British society has become devoid of Christian notions of redemption and forgiveness. In fact, in one shot, a discarded statue of the Virgin Mary is shown rotting away in the woods. Even so, they don’t explore this provocative theme as strongly as they could have done. They do, however, strongly imply that the behavior of Eric and his angry friend when they were young was caused by abuse and neglect, including the evils of homosexual lust.
BOY A has lots of strong foul language and some strong violence. There are also has some strong sex scenes between Eric and his girlfriend, who eventually are on the verge of getting married. Those scenes include brief nudity. This content and the movie’s other mature themes warrant extreme caution.
BOY A is a sensitive but ultimately depressing British movie about the effects of a brutal crime on human beings. Based on a novel, it is marred by plenty of strong foul language, strong sexual content, brief nudity, and a fatalistic worldview.