Friday, 17 June 2011

The Boondock Saints

As a general rule I find myself rocking up late to all bandwagons but when I arrive I tend to jump on board these underground unstoppable juggernauts with gusto.  I don’t think there has ever been a cult classic that I have been a part of since its creation but I have spent my entire life being about four steps behind the general populace and my discovery of films has followed the same pattern.

We are on film two of my Norman Reedus phase which has taken a short hiatus due to the good Queen’s postal system not seeing fit to deliver the dvds ordered over a week ago but I digress……..

Due to my general incompetence I have lost and found my old natty dvd of The Boondock Saints on several occasions but in order to embrace the Reedus season which is taking place in my living room I splashed out and bought a fresh copy on Bluray. 

PLOT:  Irish twins Connor (Sean Patrick Flanery) and Murphy (Norman Reedus) creatively kill a couple of Russian gangsters in self defence after a St Paddy‘s Day bar-room brawl gets out of hand.  After a dream sequence (affectionately known by me as the orgasm scene) they realise their calling in life is to kill all the criminals in Boston.  Detective Smecker (Willem Dafoe) is sent to Boston to bring an end to the vigilante killings.  There is Billy Connolly.  There is killing.  There is Willem Dafoe in a dress. There is bloodshed. There is a lot of destroying evil so that the good may flourish.  END PLOT

The plot of The Boondock Saints is fine - two decent god loving brothers killing the scum of the earth to make the world a better place - I can get on board with this notion quite easily.  The film maintains its heavy religious undertones without turning into a preachy self-important mess. There aren’t many times in life when you find praying cool but it happens several times in The Boondock Saints.

There is plenty of humour - mostly due to the brothers bickering and some witty one lines thrown in for good measure.  As a cat lover I never thought watching a sleeping cat being shot at close distance could be amusing but this says more about me than the film.

If you look hard enough into any film that isn’t made by Guillermo del Toro you can find faults - the only fault in The Boondock Saints I care enough about to mention is St Patrick’s Day itself.  I have never in my twenty-five years of being Irish referred to the day of St Patrick as St Patty’s Day. In Ireland we keep the “D’s” thank you very much.

The Boondock Saints is an independent film and the budget at times is noticeably low but it doesn’t matter.  Sometimes keeping things simple works for the better and the opening scenes with The Blood of Cu Chulainn has become one of my favourite opening credit sequences.  

A film is only as good as its cast and Flaney and Reedus are great in their roles as Connor and Murphy.  After watching several convention videos on youtube and seeing that these two guys are friends in real life it actually makes me like the actors, their characters and the film even more - there is something genuinely likeable about all the people involved.

The Boondock Saints is very Connor heavy and he gets most of the scenes and lines although this by default makes Murphy my favourite.  There are a few scenes were it’s just Connor and Rocco (David Della Rocco) and I always, without fail, get this weird sense of “Yay Murphy’s back” when he wanders back from praying somewhere just off screen.  The screen time is a bit more even in the sequel. 

Every actor in the known world will at some stage play a role with an American accent but it’s only on the rarest of occasions that an Irish accent will be required and this usually goes down the road of the typical Oirish “top O the mornin’ to ye” leprechaun accent that I’ve yet to encounter on this Island.  Flanery and Reedus fair well with the accent and thankfully keep any Oirish tendencies to a minimum.

The action, violence and language are all there - it has its rating for a reason but by today’s blood splattering standards it isn’t as extreme as more recent films.

The Boondock Saints does get a bad rap from film critics who are paid a large wage to write about film.  I get that opinions are opinions and I have no interest in trying to change the minds of  those who don’t like The Boondock Saints.  What I will say is this -  I think that there is a certain amount of snobbery that comes with all film fans (myself included) and I believe that it is as trendy to run down The Boondock Saints as it is to gush about how breathtakingly wonderful The Shawshank Redemption is - when push comes to shove I know which film I would rather watch. 

The circumstances in which The Boondock Saints was pulled from the cinema are obviously unfortunate, however looking at it from the films point of view it probably saved it from being forgotten in a long line of Boston gangster films. 

The success of this film isn’t due to any amount of Empire Magazine gushing and fanfaring it is due to the word of mouth advertising by the fans to the new fans and this has turned The Boondock Saints into a cult classic which has spawned a sequel and if rumours are to be believed a tv show which is more than most mainstream films will ever achieve.

The Boondock Saints is a film that shall forever be loved.
Here endeth the gushing.


  1. sound like i might like it. i have some Irish blood in me although i am mostly Celtic heritage thank you and god bless

  2. Thanks for reading as always Roy! It is my favourite Irish/American film :-D