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  Publicity Stills of
"Boy A"
(Courtesy of GV)

Genre: Drama
Director: John Crowley
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Peter Mullan, Shaun Evans, Katie Lyons
RunTime: 1 hr 40 mins
Released By: GV
Rating: M18 (Sexual Scene and Coarse Language)
Official Website: www.boyamovie.com

Opening Day: 4 September 2008


Based on the award winning novel of the same name by Jonathan Trigell, Jack (Andrew Garfield) is released from prison at the age of 24, having been institutionalized for most of his life after he and another boy murdered a child, when they were themselves children. The film follows Jack's difficult attempts to readjust to the world outside of confinement and restart a life which never really got going. Under the fatherly mentor- ship of Terry (Peter Mullan) his parole contact and social worker, he experiences a coming of age, which would normally have happened years ago. But forces from the past are constantly upon him, as we learn more about the events leading up to the crime which has ruined so many lives, there is an increasing sense of suspense, intrigue and ultimately doom: the tabloid press and Terry's real son are not going to let things lie.

Movie Review:

The past is a terrible secret that can't be suppressed in "Boy A". The means by which "Intermission" director John Crowley and writer Mark O'Rowe dramatize one man's efforts to conceal a skeleton in the closet, however, too often takes the form of convenient coincidences and tidy echoes.

For the most part "Boy A" is a film of uncompromisingly tender depictions of human affection and attachment. Despite the pints, fights, tabs of E, and all the other rote trappings of workaday British youth culture on display, Jack and his co-worker Eric form a marvelously honest friendship that is the most vivid and realistic depiction of male bonding since the considerably more facetious "Superbad." Jack and Michelle's romance, Terry's dealings with his own estranged son, and flashbacks showing young "Boy A" Eric Wilson's passive, co-dependent relationship with his co-murderer Philip are similarly well-wrought examples of character-driven storytelling at its most engaging.

John Crowley's film, adapted by Mark O'Rowe from Jonathan Trigell's novel, is nicely edited by Lucia Zucchetti, who takes us seamlessly from the present to the protagonist's past at appropriate moments. After such minor performances in minor works, Andrew Garfield, who played student Todd Hayes in Lions for Lambs, anchors the story in a career-making performance as Jack Burridge, 24-year-old released from juvenile custody after fourteen years for a senseless murder he helped commit at the age of 10. He's most fortunate to be under the wing of a Terry (Peter Mullan) social worker who if anything is too dedicated to his job, a seriousness that ultimately proves disastrous to his client. Jack, whose real name is Eric Wilson, enjoys his job with a delivery company, a gig that affords him not only friendly co-workers but also girlfriend, Michelle (Katie Lyons) who is immediately attracted to the lad: His current fortune will prove all too good to be lasting.

It’s a beautifully realized exploration of a difficult subject. Very much like the subplot of Little Children and Kevin Bacon's The Woodsman, the idea of second chances isn’t an unusual one where one could argue the right and wrong till the cows come home. Though it constantly shifts into conventional structure and suffers from an ending that feels more flustered than emotive,
Boy A turns out to be an effective workout of genre mechanics. Impressively able to hit a stride in tone, Crowley's pacing and mood both acts of concentrated consistency. With his three central performances, the young director probes something that was also plumbed in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight and Peter Berg's Hancock, although obviously in a smaller context: Is the public ever interested in forgiveness, or are we just sniffing for the faintest hint of evil until the new messiah steps up?

Movie Rating:

(Boy A is a powerful film that won’t let go of you when the credits roll)

Review by Lokman B S


. Lions For Lambs (2007)

. Little Children (2006)

. Cashback (2006)

. The Woodsman (2004)

. We Don't Live Here Anymore (2004)

. City of God DVD (2002)

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