We regret to inform you that Zvents.com is closing its doors October 31st, 2014. We’re proud to have served the community for so long, but business pressures have forced us to make the difficult decision to close down Zvents.com and the Zvents Media Network. Thank you for supporting us over the years. For more on the closure of Zvents.com see this page.
Home | Register | Log In

Woodbridge, NJ

   [change my location]

Movie Review: Boy A

Review for 'Boy A'
Boy A
Genre: Drama
Running Time: 99 min
Release Date: 2008-07-23
Tags: There are no tags.
By "Chicago Tribune"

By Michael Phillips, Tribune Movie Critic
Like "Control," the recent Anton Corbijn treatment of rock star Ian Curtis' short life, the powerful British drama "Boy A" announces its gravitas with a look - organically achieved, with cinematography, production design and direction working together - you are meant to notice. In scene after scene the excellent actors are placed in stark isolation against vast gray or beige backdrops, or against concrete slabs or brick walls. Oxygen and joy, like simple human connection, are hard to come by for everyone in this universe, most of all for the young man at the story's center.
He's a 24-year-old graduate of juvenile prison, having been convicted, along with another boy, for the murder of a pre-teen girl. "Boy A" follows the young man as he re-enters society, relocates under a pseudonym to Manchester, takes a factory job, meets regularly with a caseworker, falls in love - and then feels the hot breath of the media on his neck as his secret identity resurfaces.
The film is directed by the veteran stage practitioner John Crowley, who brought Martin McDonagh's similarly oxygen-depriving story "The Pillowman" to London and New York. "Boy A" comes from Jonathan Trigell's 2004 novel, which was based loosely on various real-life cases. Although the screenplay tips our sympathies wholly in the young man's direction, it's cleverly structured to reveal the particulars of the long-ago crime, and what led up to it, in fragmentary flashback.
"They said I could choose my name," says the man who becomes "Jack" upon his prison release. Andrew Garfield - skinny, beetle-browed, his eyes and smile full of puzzled wonder at all he sees - is first-rate throughout. Jack's an adult, but his emotional receptors are off and his childlike responses carry a hint of danger. He never knows when someone's kidding him, whether it's a co-worker (Shaun Evans), his lover (Katie Lyons) or his caseworker (Peter Mullan).
The mood, color schemes and isolating placements of the actors are all so consciously controlled, "Boy A" sometimes feels less like an exploratory portrait than an exercise in aesthetic clamminess. Yet Garfield, who played the young American student in Robert Redford's "Lions for Lambs," makes a whole, aching character of Jack. And in the scenes with Lyons, who doesn't really know who she has in her bed, Garfield experiences the joys, terrors and undiscovered country of first love like a stranger from another planet.
MPAA rating: R (for language, sexuality, some disturbing content and brief drug use)
Running time: 1:40
Opening: Friday at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave.
Starring: Andrew Garfield (Jack); Peter Mullan (Terry); Katie Lyons (Michelle); Shaun Evans (Chris)
Directed by John Crowley; written by Mark O'Rowe, based on the novel by Jonathan Trigell; photographed by Rob Hardy; edited by Lucia Zucchetti; music by Paddy Cunneen; production design by Jon Henson; produced by Lynn Horsford. A Weinstein Company release.

Reviews & Comments
CRITICS REVIEWS
Edit this review Delete this review
Aug 09, 2008 - Chicago Tribune
USER REVIEWS
This movie currently has no reviews. Be the first to share your thoughts with others!
Movie Theaters & Showtimes
Near:
No nearby showtimes