Reflections

SXSW 2000 Film Festival and Conference

BUDDY BOY

Dir/Scr: Mark Hanlon; Prod: Cary Woods, Gina Mingacci; Exec Prod: Elliot Lewis Rosenblatt; DP: Hubert Taczanowski; Ed: Hughes Winborne; Cast: Aidan Gillen, Emmanuelle Seigner, Susan Tyrrell, Mark Boone Jr., Harry Groener.

35mm, 103 min., 1999 (USP)

Not everything is what it seems in the paranoid Buddy Boy. Its tormented protagonist, Francis, lives in a depressing world in which truth and fantasy blur. A sexually repressed voyeur who is tortured by Catholic guilt (who isn't?), he continues to secretly spy on the beautiful neighbor with whom he has started a relationship and watches her hungrily eating slabs of red meat (she's a vegan) and making love to other men. Needless to say, the reality-challenged Francis freaks out upon seeing this stuff. Reminiscent of David Lynch's Eraserhead, but not quite as weird, the finely crafted Buddy Boy is slow going at times, but nevertheless credible in depicting a man's gradual descent into madness. As Francis's invalid stepmother, Tyrell is her usual grotesque self -- the scene in which she uses a prosthetic foot to bludgeon someone to death will either appall or amuse you, depending on your mental state. It's a darkly comic moment in a film that will mess with your head.

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