Off the Shelf…'The Boondock Saints'

Closing in on the “tentative release date” for The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day I thought this was the perfect time to do a write up for a film I like very, very much.  To many people out there I suspect The Boondock Saints is a love it/hate it type of film.  Any conversation I’ve had with friends in the past has either been, “Dude, that movie rocks” or “it was stupid“…and trust me I asked guys and girls alike and got a little of both from each party.  Whether you like it or not, you have to admit that there is a pretty large cult following behind it.  Not nearly as big as Rocky Horror but I think it mirrors “Horror’s” split fan base.  To those who “get” it, “Saints” is a very loved movie.  To those of you don’t, I hold no grudges.

With a very solid cast (albeit random), “Saints” tells the tale of two Boston brothers Connor (Sean Patrick Flanery) and Murphy (Norman Reedus) who, fed up with the world’s scum and villainy, decide to take care of the crime and injustice in their own way.  And they do with a sort of  “blessed by the Lord and armed like The Terminator” manner.  In Duffy’s extraordinary debut film, a shoot-em up flick had never felt so good giving the bad guys precisely what they deserve and all with a patented Irish flair.  I don’t think I’ve heard more curse words outside a Trenton trucker’s convention but while you’re parents would cringe at the dialogue (some of it I do admit is unnecessary) “Saints” is a very fun and wild ride.  Bordering on visionary, this film is a tongue-in-cheek roller coaster ride of good music, great gunfights, very witty (almost brilliant) dialogue and the perfect actioner to watch with your friends.   Troy Duffy, who being the product of an English teacher, penned this eclectic story with imaginative characters, brilliant quips and exciting action sequences and montages.  The two actors you will undoubtedly derive the most pleasure from are from David Della Rocco (who surprisingly is not an actor) and Willem Dafoe (in top form) as they are just the right level of extreme to the Saints’ level and divinely focused fraternal persona.

The characters are so interesting that at the finish, you are supremely disappointed because Connor and Murphy are so fleshed out and likable you don’t want the story to end.  Now, as much as I enjoy the movie, I never really liked the ending.  I do give Duffy some credit for trying a different approach but it does end a bit short (making you wonder if there’s a missing 25 minutes floating around on some cutting room floor).  Though, for all you morally conscious viewers, the whole “news story” angle is a unique attempt at making the audience ponder the film’s events and asking (subliminally) “what would you do if you had the power?“.  Through passionate and constant word of mouth, this film has nearly worked it’s way up to the level of phenomenon and the sequel (though cheap looking ) is almost upon us.  At the end of the day “Saints” is an escapist, no-brainer action flick with some very clever writing and interesting characters that you’ll be quoting for days (at least).

The one thing I find so very impressive about this awesome film (which you may not know) is that it almost never happened…surprising huh?.  It was over 10 years ago that this little 6 Million dollar film set out to impress the world.  But through Duffy’s own (stubborn) actions, his ego got the better of him causing the subsequent sabotage of the film’s development.  It was so bad that the movie is only now starting to make money…and after all this time none of it has gone to Duffy.  But as anyone who saw his documentary Overnight knows, he did it to himself, pretty much signing his own name on the infamous Hollywood “blacklist”, and took everyone else down with him…pity.  It has taken this long for him to give us the sequel we all wanted but since he’s pretty much ‘verboten’, this sequel looks diluted as it’s lacking the treatment sequel is known to receive after a successful 1st film.

In summation, if you take nothing from this movie you can at least enjoy the ride.  There’s bits of brilliance to this film and I’m sad that we’re only now getting to see what Duffy has up his sleeve.  No matter how that one turns out, it’s hard to deny the effect “The Boondock Saints” has had on audiences and is still great effort from a first time writer/director.  Personally, I’d best equate it to Pulp Fiction with it’s take or leave it plot.  But what holds it all together (like Pulp Fiction) is it’s slick and savvy style of story telling and air-tight dialogue.  Regardless, (thankfully is more like it) “Saints” was released and we all have Duffy’s kick ass actioner to share with out friends, enjoy after a long boring week, or play Irish drinking games where the goal is to drink every time an F-bomb is dropped…yeah, you never make it more than 15 minutes before passing out:P

G-S-T Seal of Approval: GRANTED