Movie Reviews

Black Butterfly – A Slow, Poorly-Executed Thriller (Early Review)

Again with another film I didn’t know anything about. This one is full of actors that I haven’t seen that much lately.

Synopsis: Outside a mountain town grappling with a series of abductions and murders, Paul, a reclusive writer, struggles to start what he hopes will be a career-saving screenplay. After a tense encounter at a diner with a drifter named Jack, Paul offers Jack a place to stay – and soon the edgy, demanding Jack muscles his way into Paul’s work. As a storm cuts off power to the isolated cabin, the two men begin a jagged game of one-upmanship that will bring at least one tale to an end. (VVS Films)

Starring: Antonio Banderas, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and Piper Perabo

Writers: Justin Stanley and Marc Frydman

Director: Brian Goodman

Rating: R

Running Time: 93mins

Trailer: 

The story was not overly original until it gets going but it sure does take a long time to get going and with a running time of just over 90 minutes, that’s not necessarily a good thing. The fact that it wasn’t original kind of took the fun out of it which made things a little boring to watch. The story was about a solitary writer named Paul (Banderas) who brings in a mysterious drifter named Jack (Rhys Meyers). Paul felt indebted to Jack for saving him from a traitorous encounter at a diner.

The film started with a woman who appeared to have been abducted and never went back to it thus setting the stage for the rest of the story. Jack was mysterious and the opening scene seemingly implied this but Paul kept overlooking this because of the debt he felt he had to pay. Jack perhaps took advantage of this and over time, their relationship became more contentious. We all knew the truth so it was just a matter of waiting for an inevitable conclusion one way or another.

To Jack, it was all about helping Paul write a great story and he eventually became obsessed with this. Jack’s true nature barely surfaced but once it did, it didn’t really go anywhere so once he truly became unhinged, it didn’t feel earned and made his character more one-dimensional and Paul’s inability to effectively fight back made it even more so. It looked like it tried to be suspenseful with the back and forth game between Paul and Jack, however, this did not work as good as it probably should have.

The course of the story was predictable until we got to the ending of the story. The ending may have been clear, knowing this, the film decided to throw a few twists at us by the end. Without giving anything away, the first twist came off as contrived and convenient while almost undoing everything that had happened up to that point and the evidence for the second twist was there but it ultimately didn’t work as well either, looking at the events leading up to it.

The acting was okay although this was mostly due to the writing than anything else. Banderas as Paul was a serviceable protagonist but he was no match for Jack with the writing saving him before it was too late. As mentioned, Jack was a one-dimensional character and Rhys Meyers acted as such which made it come off as overacting when playing off of Paul. If there was more of a balance between the characters, the whole story would have been more compelling to watch.

Overall, this was a decent thriller that tried to do something different but failed in its execution. The story was slow to get going and the lack of a proper buildup and character development made it more of a chore to watch and not even decent performances could save it.

Score: 5.5/10

*Black Butterfly will be available on Blu-Ray, DVD, VOD, and Digital on Tuesday, June 27th*

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