The Butcher Boy (Neil Jordan, 1997)

What's it about? Young Francie Brady goes mad in a small town in Ireland. Happens the best of us.

Is it any good? Excellent. Apart from the fabulously demented story, no other film has come as close to capturing the peculiar mix of madness, sadness and gladness that underpins the Irish psyche. It's both very funny and very sad, with a great performance from Eamonn Owens in the title role. The only quibble is that the ending isn't quite as heartbreaking as that of Patrick McCabe's (supposedly unfilmable) source novel, but it comes damn close.

I don't trust you. What do others think? It'll have more impact if you're Irish, but it still received a favourable 79% at Rotten Tomatoes. Owens received a special award at the Berlin Film Festival for his astonishing performance.

Anything else I should know? It's a veritable Who's Who of Irish artistic talent, with cameo appearances from actors (Brendan Gleeson, Stephen Rea, Fiona Shaw, Milo O'Shea), comedians (Ardal O'Hanlon, Sean Hughes), writers (Dermot Healy, Patrick McCabe, Paolo Tullio), singers (Sinead O'Connor), to name but a few.

What does the Fonz think? A genuine contender for best Irish film ever made.

Buy it on Amazon

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