Box art for The Butcher Boy

The Butcher Boy

A dark journey into the mind of a troubled Irish boy whose obsession with maintaining his family's honor leads him to commit a gruesome murder that leads to a nervous breakdown.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 17
    see all The Butcher Boy reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: Jordan's adaptation of The Butcher Boy (co-written with McCabe) remains a compelling exploration of the permeable border between normal childhood and full-on insanity.

- Andrew O'Hehir,, Saturday, January 1, 2000


- Bill Weber, Stylus Magazine, Saturday, December 1, 2007

Fresh: The film almost immediately loses the major asset of the novel: its language. Possibly a quarter of the movie is incomprehensible to the American ear.

- Brandon Judell, Entertainment Asylum, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Audience Reviews

4 stars

The Butcher Boy bridges the gap between rebellious child and psychopath as if it were a normality. That is quite a feat for any director and/or actor, so Jordan and Owens both did really well. I'm a big fan of Jordan's anyway, his visual flare and seamless balance of ordinary and extraordinary is always a pleasure. This is a much darker film than I anticipated but to pack in so much story and so many contrasting visuals (Old Irish town and countryside/50's style Sci-fi/Post apocalyptic earth etc) takes real talent. He's a very overlooked director in my mind, everyone knows and loves most of his films but just don't realise they were all directed by the same guy. Anyway, highly recommended.

- SirPant, Wednesday, April 25, 2012

4 stars

Sharp and snappy dialogue, surprising emotional weight, and the perfect and crucial casting of Eamoon Owens (who completely owns the screen) create an unforgettable character study; dark, funny, and full of life. Unique to it's core, and one of Jordan 's best films.

- YLOWBSTARDreturns, Monday, May 16, 2011

3 stars

Jordan's whimsical but dark presentation of a boy gradually becoming psychotic is perfectly disturbing. It captures both the fun and naiveness of childhood, but also details the simple slip from mischievous trouble making into something far less wholesome. Owens gives an amazing performance, he plays it as a child the entire time. One of the most disturbing things is that he doesn't act disturbed. It's a child playing games, feeling betrayed and ultimately doing the only sensible (in his mind) thing to counteract the events in his life. A wonderful mix of a movie, that should have reached it's conclusion sooner.

- kiriyamakazou, Monday, April 27, 2009