Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Boondock Saints

Connor McManus (Sean Patrick Flanery) and Murphy McManus (Norman Reedus) are two brothers residing in Boston, MS who are gun men who in the name of the Father are hell bent (pun intended) on ridding their city of evil i.e. the mob that's made the mistake stirring up trouble on their favorite Irish pub on St. Patty's Day no less.

They always say a prayer before executing their last and most important target. Usually the boss. This ensures that God knows this is done for good and not bad. Also to ensure the "soul" of the victim gets proper attention once they've done their deed. It doesn't end there however. Once assassinated, our heroes lay coins on the eyes of their prey to ensure that the ferry man can be paid to take their soul to the other side. Otherwise their soul would be left in purgatory. Leaving their death to be in vain.

F.B.I. Agent Paul Smecker (Willem Dafoe) is called in investigate the first "incident" that involves the homicide of two Russian mob soldiers in an alley way with awkward conditions which have the Boston police for scrambling for answers and coming up with laughable conclusions.

Agent Smecker is sharp. He has what is known in the industry to be "soft eyes". He arrives at a crime scene, snaps on his rubber gloves, jacks on his headphones and engulfs himself in his classical music so he can concentrate on what he needs to find to crack the case. He's does so with such grace and finesse that he puts the rest of the officers on the scene to shame. He's even got some quirky chemistry with one of the more egotistical detectives working the "The Saints" cases. It makes for great laughs and accentuation of analyzing the investigation which simply makes the storytelling even more acute.

A scene will begin with an instigation i.e. near the beginning of the movie the Russian mob soldiers as mentioned previously exchange words between the Irish pub patrons and are asking for trouble. The scene cuts to those same men all bandaged up and left for dead. Enters our clever FBI detective to explain how he thinks this all went down. Then we see how it all REALLY went down afterwards which makes for stellar and innovative action sequences.

There is plenty of music playing over the action as to provide appeal to the use of visual spectacle that otherwise might have been lost without the groove of a guitar heavy solo strumming over a .50 caliber shot to the body. Slow motion is used pristinely here as well to build suspense and also to wallow in the "orchestration" of the violence. When bodies are hit with shells, every movement of the body is captured and intertwined with the music at hand as to provide a way of reiterating the story to the audience as this is being shown in the past and present tenses. You have the director and editor to thank for this. They do a wonderful job of explaining why each shot happens, each person is killed and even how and why the scene looks the way it does.

The McManus brothers run into one of their acquaintances Rocco (David Della Rocco) right after they've executed a room full of armed mobsters and accept him into their facade to serve their own brand of street justice. Apparently he's a package delivery boy/funny man with the Italian mob and is now fully ready to make moves back onto the mob he's from. Since he knows where they hang out, live, play cards they have a great time setting up hits and efficiently wiping out the Boston mob scene.

At the same time, Agent Smecker is running around without clues and begins to wonder if maybe "The Saints" might have something worthwhile going on which leads to a very amusing scene in a Church confessional which I will not dare spoil here.

I will not lie to you. This movie is extremely violent and intensely graphic but at the same time.....Fun! Troy Duffy finds ways to set up scenes very similar to the way Quentin Tarantino did in "Pulp Fiction" where all your emotions are being pulled every which way at once. Laughter, fear and adrenaline all come into play at the exact same time. Being the viewer you sometimes can't help but love/hate the Boondock Saints for their zany yet iconic behavior.

When this was released in in 1999, it was around the time of the Columbine high school massacre and the big wigs at Maple Productions did not want to step on any toes due to the violent nature of the movie. So unfortunately this did not get very good distribution. In fact, according to IMDB, this was only released in 5 theaters in the United States for 1 week. It was only when this was released on video and DVD did this find its cult following.

Directed by Troy Duffy, starring Willem Dafoe, Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reemus and David Della Rocco.

***The long awaited sequel (ten years) has just been released and you can bet your bottom dollar that I will be posting a review of that one very soon.***

Cine-a-meter rating: 5/5

P.S. Watch for Willem Dafoe's facial expressions throughout the picture. You can tell he had a fuckin' blast making this. He completely absorbed his character right down the the fingertips.

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