a critiQal film review Boondock Saints (2000)

  • DVD
  • Blu-Ray

Plot: Believing they are doing God's work - and encouraged by the public's praise - fraternal Irish Catholic brothers Connor (Flanery) and Murphy MacManus (Reedus) bring their own bloody brand of vigilante justice to bear against Boston's Russian mafia.

614 words (Est. Reading Time 3m 4s)
  • ...with an exuberant cast, this Tarantino-esque view of a modern-day crusade is worth checking out.

The other day, I was updating the “Coming Soon To Blu-Ray” Store page and noticed that an older film, The Boondock Saints, was making it’s way to Blu-Ray. While I haven’t yet made the conversion to Blu-Ray myself, I did remember wanting to see The Boondock Saints, so added the DVD version to our queue at Blockbuster.com.

The acting was pretty well done all around. The biggest name of the film, Willem Dafoe, goes all out in his role of detective, and becomes the narrator of the piece. It’s an interesting concept, as the detective walks viewers through each violent crime scene, playing the part of observer while the scene plays out for him and the viewers. This is pre- Dafoe, and he’s really a lot more interesting in The Boondock Saints than he would be later on in his career. He really dives into his character, and takes a lot of paths that he would not take later on in his career – even going so far as to dress in complete drag at one point. It’s a crazy role for him, and he seems to enjoy every single second of it.

With the rest of the cast, some seem familiar but can’t be readily placed (Sean Patrick Flanery) while others (Norman Reedus, Billy Connolly) are more easily recognizable ( and , respectively). No matter how recognizable they are, however, they all seem to get into their roles with gusto (some more than expected), and really provide a solid acting base for the film.

The basis of The Boondock Saints relies on two brothers who set out on their own “holy crusade”. With a religious fervor, the brothers set out to eliminate bad guy’s, trusting in their beliefs that they are doing God’s work. It seems a bit odd, especially since the 2 brothers come off as more sociopathic than religious at times, but it’s still an interesting concept.

With their religious fervor catching on amongst both cops and the public, the brothers wreak havoc on the Russian Mob that has invaded their hometown, cutting through swaths of gangsters in sequences that would make ultra-violent director Quentin Tarantino happy. As the viewer watches, the brothers – with their belief in the righteousness of their actions making them nigh invincible – tear through the Mob, then pause to recite a Latin prayer before placing coins on their victims’ eyes.

While the concept isn’t really anything new, the emphasis on the utter normalness of the two brothers in the beginning of the film serves to help the viewers understand the fervor behind their actions. These are just two regular guys caught up in what they believe to be a calling, and they are just using their apparent natural skills with weapons to wipe the gutters of their hometown.

While not all viewers may be able to totally sanction their actions, most will be able to relate at least a bit to the urge for vigilante justice. Since this again isn’t a new concept in the world of cinema, that’s not really surprising either.

With it’s exuberant cast and it’s interesting concept of righteous death, The Boondock Saints comes across as a Quentin Tarantino-esque view of a modern-day crusade. Sure, the film isn’t without it’s faults, and some of the uber-violence in the scenes may cause some viewers to pause, but most should enjoy this new take on old concepts.

If you find yourself enjoying this one, you should also check out the under-appreciated True Romance. With it’s Tarantino-written script and stellar cast, it showcases another kind of uber-violent vigilante justice – and rest assured, that one has it’s basis in love, rather than in any religious-themed fervor.

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