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Review: Black Butterfly

Black Butterfly
05.23.2017
6 10

PLOT: A reclusive writer (Antonio Banderas) suffering from writers block, takes in a mysterious drifter (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) who saved him from a local bully.

REVIEW: BLACK BUTTERFLY is highly reminiscent of William Monahan’s recent MOJAVE, which shared the same essential premise: a reclusive artist finds himself in a violent collision course with a drifter who possesses frustrated delusions of grandeur. Yet, while that film was a ponderous meditation on the creative process, BLACK BUTTERFLY is more bent on giving audiences of a fun twisty thriller, making it ultimately palatable despite a few twists too many.

What’s interesting is that this comes from actor-director Brian Goodman, whose last directorial effort was the under seen, autobiographical WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU. Here, he’s working in straight-up genre territory, with this being a two-hander thriller that hopes to keep audiences on the edge of their seats guessing about all the twists and turns. Too bad then that right from the start, when we learn that the small community Antonio Banderas’s character is a part of has suffered from a series of abductions/murders, BLACK BUTTERFLY’s endgame seems a little obvious. Certainly this all ties into the little dance going-on between Banderas and Jonathan Rhys Meyers, with one of them being responsible – but who?

It’s actually fairly engaging most of the way through. Banderas has been low-key lately, but seems to be launching a nice little comeback. He’s not a natural fit as the world-weary writer, but he gives it a solid go. Rhys Meyers is actually quite good as the mysterious, tough guy drifter. While still a tad posh, he’s got a lot of presence here, keeping his motivations acceptably obscure given the premise. Piper Perabo plays the local real estate agent Banderas has a crush on, who finds herself drawn into the little battle between these two men, which starts as a bizarre screenplay collaboration but grows into them pointing shotguns at each other.

Goodman’s style is laid-back but tense, bringing this in at an efficient ninety minutes without too much fluff. Some of his more idiosyncratic touches elevate the material, such as a character part for director Abel Ferrara as a local grocer/friend of Banderas’s. The big twist that shifts the narrative in the final act is well-done for what it is, although the epilogue attached to the end of the movie undoes pretty much all the goodwill it had been building up. It’s as if the writers, Marc Frydman & Justin Stanley, came up with one too many “what if” scenarios, and couldn’t resist taking-on a final one to the movie which pulls the rug out from under it. Had this final bit been cut, BLACK BUTTERFLY would stand as an efficient little B-thriller, but having it on there is a real drag.

Even so, for what it is, BLACK BUTTERFLY isn’t bad, with good performances by Banderas and Rhys Meyers, a jaunty-pace and a decent sense of fun throughout. I had a good enough time with it, even if the end made me want to throw the laptop I was watching it on out the window.

Source: JoBlo.com

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