Movie Review–The Boondock Saints (1999)

Written and Directed by Troy Duffy
Starring Willem Dafoe, Norman Reedus, Sean Patrick Flanery
Rated R for strong violence, language and sexual content
1 hr 48 min

Available on Netflix

boondock

“And shepherds we shall be, for thee my lord, for thee. Power hath descended forth from thy hand that our feet may swiftly carry out thy command. We shall flow a river forth to thee and teeming with souls shall in ever be. In nomine patris et filii et spiritus sancti.”

I’ve had those words memorized since I was seventeen years old. They come from a prayer in The Boondock Saints–a prayer the McManus brothers recite immediately before executions. And there are a lot of executions.

The Boondock Saints is by no stretch of the imagination a good movie. The writing is juvenile, the action is too often cartoonish, and the accents are laughable (Why do they even have to be Irish?). But while it may not be good it is effective–dangerously effective. I’m old enough now to see the flaws and to accept The Boondock Saints for what it is–an ultra violent, ultra conservative B-movie.

For teenagers it’s a completely different story.

There are messages in this movie that are so manipulative in their appeal, that the average teenage boy (probably the bulk of the movie’s audience) accepts them almost immediately. The story follows brothers Connor and Murphy McManus as they “clean the streets” of Boston with help from flamboyant FBI investigator Paul Smecker. No law, no court, no rules. Just lots of killing and no second chances. Sure it’s kind of fun, but its themes are problematic for younger audiences. If the MPAA actually did what it was supposed to do, this film would be rated NC-17. But I’ll hold off on the politics for now.

All you need to know is that this movie is radical and potentially hazardous to some viewers. If you think you can handle the risky subject matter, go for it. Otherwise stay away, and keep your kids away too.

Screen shot 2013-09-03 at 2.08.47 PM copy

1 1/2 out of 4 stars

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