Gerald Wright's Movie Coverage
BOY A Movie Review
Directed by: John Crowley
Running time: 100 minutes
Release date: July 23, 2008 (NY) & July 25, 2008 (LA)
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
MPAA Rating: Not yet rated
Loosely based on the real life 1993 murder of the 2 year old boy named James Bulger in England, Boy A is a fictionalized story of one of the two young criminals who committed a similar horrific crime against a very young girl. Is it possible that 10 year olds can be considered sociopathic killers? If so, can they be rehabilitated?
In the real life crime, two plump face 10 year old boys from Liverpool were convicted of the abduction, brutal beating, murder and mutilation of toddler, James Bulger. These two boys were the youngest people to be charged with murder in England. They were sentenced in 1993 and released on a life sentence in June 2001, after serving 8 years. An injunction was imposed preventing the publication of details about the boys, for fear of reprisals by the public. Public shock of the murder was compounded by their release. As a result, details of the boys and parents new identities and locations were ordered never to be published.
This haunting British drama strays a little from the actual facts. Jack Burridge, played by newcomer Andrew Garfield, is released from juvenile prison under the supervision of his care officer, Terry (Peter Mullan). Terry plans and makes a new life (new identity) for Jack, however Jack did not choose it. Jack must make a success of it - or can he? He has very few life skills because he has grown up in juvenile institutions. All seems to go well for him at first with a good job, friends and he even scores a girlfriend, Michelle. He bonds with a coworker named Chris (Shaun Evans) who is drawn to his compassion and loyalty. Michelle is drawn to his shyness and she gives him a sexual awakening in their relationship.
Jack is caught between concealing his horrendous past and the potential exoneration by revealing his crime to his new love of his life Michelle. His care officer Terry tells Jack that confessing the truth to her would be a threat of his safety, because spending 14 years in jail has not changed the public's opinion of him for brutally beating and killing a little girl. The release of "Boy A" from prison caused a widespread media frenzy which re-ignited the public and and launched an investigation by the media to find his new identity.
Throughout the film, the audience really becomes part of the story, because of many relevant issues are addressed in such a real way. The filmmaker paints a picture of Jack being a sweet natured young adult. Structuring the film in characterizations, you get to know Jack portrayed brilliantly by Andrew Garfield. He (Garfield) takes the audience on an emotional journey of stumbling through asking Michelle out on a date and learning how to work on his first job. It's very affective how he shows the fear of being found out and the desperate need to have people like him. Actually the audience spends almost all of the film on his side, before the flashback scenes expose the horrific crime he committed. Jack's demeanor is more of a young boy in a man's body.
BOY A, is an adaptation of Jonathan Trigell's novel of the same title. There are outstanding performances by the ensemble cast of Jeremy Swift, Anthony Lewis, Alfie Owen, Taylor Doherty,Skye Bennett and James Young that gives the flick a sense of gritty realism.
FILM RATING (B)