Review: The Boondock Saints (1999)

The Boondock Saints (1999)

Directed by: Troy Duffy | 112 minutes | action, drama, thriller, crime | Actors: Willem Dafoe, Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus, David Della Rocco, Billy Connolly, David Ferry, Brian Mahoney, Bob Marley, Richard Fitzpatrick, William Young, Robert Pemperton, Bill Craig, Dot Jones, Scott Griffith, Layton Morrison, James Binkley, Matthew Chaffee, Robert Eaton, Kym Kristalie, Gerard Parkes, Jeffrey R. Smith, Jonathan Higgins, Anthony Crhysostom, Lizz Alexander, Carlo Rota, Ron Jeremy, Tom Barnett, Glenn Marc Silot, Victor Pedtrchenko, Lauren Piech, Gina Sorell, Jeanna Fine, Sergio Di Zio, Angelo Tucci, Jimmy Tingle, Dick Callahan, Maris Santia, Carmen DiStefano, Darren Marsman, Christopher Flockton, Joe Pingue, Kevin Chapman, Nicholas Pasco

In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti…

Normally these religious words end with an ‘Amen’, but it’s too late for that when you run into Catholic brothers Connor and Murphy McManus. Or rather: when they bump into you. The last thing you hear are the muffled shots of two Beretta 92f pistols… and then a deadly silence…

Boston, Saint Patrick’s Day. ‘The Boondock Saints’ kicks off with a Catholic Mass, which focuses on the murder of Kitty Genovese. As the priest broaches the subject, two striking young men stand up, pray at the carved statue of Jesus and leave the church: in this way they show their disgust at this act. The murder of Kitty Genovese is also based on truth. During the gruesome killing in 1964, 38 people watched without calling 911, in what is now called Genovese syndrome. Kitty died of her injuries, but her name will, sadly, live on forever in this psychological term.

After the church visit, the Brothers McManus are introduced a little further while enjoying a beautiful, traditional Irish tune. It soon becomes clear that the two are a bit different from the vast majority, something that also applies to the film itself. ‘The Boondock Saints’ is different from a ‘regular’ Hollywood production and has gained quite a bit of popularity over the course of a decade. The film can therefore safely be called a cult hit.

After a bar fight that gets out of hand, which Connor and Murphy barely survive, they decide, at the behest of God, to take the law into their own hands. They systematically start with their mafia buddy David Della Rocco to get rid of society’s worst villainy. Characteristic of cult films is their often controversial character and ‘The Boondock Saints’ also raises a controversy. The saints are for a better world, but in such a case can you take the law into your own hands and repay evil with the same evil? A nice contradiction, which is reinforced by a real life street interview that takes place during the credits…

In addition, ‘The Boondock Saints’ is characterized by its typical style, which is most reflected in the dialogues and the characters. The dialogues are definitely a lot weirder, looser and therefore more fun than those in an average production, so this film already has an edge over many other films. Interesting detail: ‘The Boondock Saints’ counts 246 times the word ‘fuck’ or a derivative thereof. Furthermore, it is the slightly bizarre collection of protagonists Connor and Murphy McManus, David Della Rocco and Paul Smecker (Willem Dafoe) that make ‘The Boondock Saints’ the film it has become. The last of the bunch, Paul Smecker, for example, is a detective and homosexual, but then again, he’s not. At the crime scene he listens to classical music and is often carried away by what has happened. His homosexual orientation is occasionally over the top and occasionally bizarre, but that is also part of the cult happening.

All in all, ‘The Boondock Saints’ is, in a positive sense, a special and charming film. This production by writer and director Troy Duffy owes this to its versatility. In addition to the many, fine action that the film has to offer, there is a lot of room for fascinating, funny dialogues and the necessary depth. Also when it comes to music there is quite a bit of variation; from religious music to rock. The characters and religious character do the rest, not to mention the original story, which doesn’t really have a clear line. Incidentally, that is not disturbing with this film. ‘The Boondock Saints’ is a film in itself, but is open to a sequel that will probably come in 2009. We’re looking forward!

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