20 June 2018

101 FILMS PRESENTS: BLACK BUTTERFLY. (2017) AN EXCELLENT THRILLER REVIEWED BY SANDRA HARRIS.




BLACK BUTTERFLY. (2017) DIRECTED BY BRIAN GOODMAN. BASED ON THE FRENCH TELEVISION MOVIE 'PAPILLON NOIR' DIRECTED BY CHRISTIAN FAURE. STARRING ANTONIO BANDERAS, JONATHAN RHYS MEYERS AND PIPER PERABO.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

'Don't make me hurt you.'

'I just wanted to show you some 'real.' Sorry for the scare.'

I AM STUCK I AM STUCK I AM STUCK I AM STUCK I AM STUCK...

I adore films about writers, especially if the writers are having a hard time of making sense of their creative processes. As a writer myself, I revel in their distress because it reflects my own anguish right back at me, lol. This film is described as 'MISERY' MEETS JOHNNY DEPP'S 'SECRET WINDOW.'

Stephen King's MISERY, starring James Caan and Kathy Bates, sees a novel being written under the most adverse of circumstances, almost at gunpoint, in fact. 'SECRET WINDOW,' based on the long short story or novella by Stephen King called 'SECRET WINDOW, SECRET GARDEN,' has a writer tangling with a madman who claims that the writer plagiarised one of his own early works.

BLACK BUTTERFLY also puts me in mind of BAG OF BONES, yet another book by Stephen King that was turned into a successful film, starring Pierce 007 Brosnan as the troubled, bereaved writer and the beautiful Melissa George, formerly of Antipodean soap HOME AND AWAY, as his love interest.

Stephen King, surely the ultimate writer, clearly enjoys writing about what he knows, lol, that is to say, male American writers no longer in the first flush of youth battling various demons such as drink and marital problems and struggling futilely with what my son used to refer to in his younger years as the dreaded 'writer's blob.'

In BLACK BUTTERFLY, the still-sexy-as-hell Antonio Banderas plays Paul Lopez, a once-successful writer now holed up in his isolated cabin-in-the-woods boozing heavily and suffering excruciatingly from 'writer's blob.' He's trying to write a screenplay but his agent doesn't like it and tells him to re-write the whole damn thing.

Paul is also having serious monetary difficulties. His attempts to sell his cabin-in-the-woods cause him to meet the pretty estate agent Laura whom he asks out on a date. He's flat-broke, his wife's left him and he's well on the way to becoming an alcoholic and a washed-up writer, but clearly his willy still works, lol. Typical guy. The willy's always the last thing to go...

A smorgasbord of circumstances (during which the film turns briefly into DUEL, that magnificent early Steven Spielberg film starring Dennis Weaver) leads to Paul inviting an intensely brooding young drifter called Jack to bunk down at his cabin for a few days.

Everything is okay for a bit. Jack, played by the not-remotely-ugly-at-all Jonathan Rhys Meyers (THE TUDORS, amongst other things) seems suitably grateful to be offered a place to doss down for a few days, a place with hot water on tap, comfy beds and plenty of grub.

He even does the cooking and appears to be something of a gourmet chef. Paul, who normally just chows down on a bottle of whiskey at mealtimes, is mildly impressed. Then Jack turns out to be a whizz at DIY as well and offers to help fix up the falling-apart-at-the-seams cabin to improve Paul's chances of selling the place.

Paul isn't quite so thrilled when Jack, not a writer himself, starts telling Paul what to do about his 'writer's blob.' He's gotta stop drinking, Jack preaches, 'cause the drinking's the main thing standing in his way. Also, Jack continues, why not write the story of the way that he, Jack, and Paul, met up if he's stuck for a really good story to write? You gotta start somewhere, after all.

Paul agrees that it could be an interesting story to write, but is less keen when Jack starts to throw in some rather sinister modifications to the plot that have obviously not occurred to Paul. When Jack pulls a knife on a sleeping Paul just to show him how a person would really react to a knife at the throat, Paul decides it's time to do a little snooping around on Mister Jack...

It's fun when films turn into one of those invite-a-stranger-into-your-life-and-home-and-see-the-shit-hit-the-fan films. FATAL ATTRACTION, SINGLE WHITE FEMALE, SWIMFAN, PACIFIC HEIGHTS and THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE are some excellent examples of this exciting genre.

It's clear that there's something seriously amiss with Jack, this dark-haired, tattooed stranger who admits freely that he's just come out of prison. The viewer immediately decides that he must have something to do with the four murders of young women that have happened in this rural area of America in the last three years. Why else would he have what look like instruments of torture in his backpack...? 

He fits the bill in other ways too, in that he's a drifter who doesn't like to put down roots and so has ample opportunity to spy on women travelling alone or women who are unwise enough to separate themselves from their friends or family for a few minutes. Could Jack be the Roadside Killer all the radio stations are going nuts about?

This film is a brilliant, tautly exciting watch. There's an absolutely killer twist in it (no pun intended) that nearly knocked me sideways, and I'm famous for not seeing twists coming. Yep, you read that right, lol. 

It's well-acted too and for once the male eye candy, as opposed to the female, is plentiful. More shirts should have been removed, however, and would it kill them to show us some butts...? These are two of Hollywood's biggest and sexiest male stars, after all.

I'm definitely adding this to my list of favourite films about male American writers no longer in the first flush of youth battling various demons such as drink and marital problems and struggling futilely with the dreaded 'writer's blob.'

Antonio Banderas is ageing beautifully, like a fine wine or something, and I certainly wouldn't kick Jonathan Rhys Meyers out of bed for not knowing all his 'Murican state capitals. Watch this film at all costs and, if you're a writer, for God's sake stamp out that pesky 'writer's blob' before it stamps you out. It does that. It's a sneaky bugger...

BLACK BUTTERFLY is available to buy now on Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital Download, courtesy of 101 FILMS.


AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger, poet and book-and-movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

 You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com













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