© Senator/Central

Boy A
U.K. 2007

Opening 7 May 2009

Directed by: John Crowley
Writing credits: Jonathan Trigell, Mark O´Rowe
Principal actors: Andrew Garfield, Alfie Owen, Katie Lyons, Peter Mullan, Taylor Doherty

Based on an award-winning novel by Jonathan Trigell, this brilliant drama explores the moral questions and issues around what happens to those children that end up serving time in juvenile prisons for committing crimes so brutal that society may never be able to forgive them. Set in Manchester, the film begins with Jack (Andrew Garfield), who after 14 years in prison has been released under a new identity so that he will have a second chance at life. Director John Crowley shows us a nice, sweet-natured boy who, although insecure and inexperienced about life outside the prison, immediately seems to be successful with work and friends and even has a girlfriend. The performance from Garfield is outstanding. From the beginning the audience really likes this character and wants him to succeed until we are faced with his past. After a preview of this horrific crime comes the inevitable question: can society really forgive this guy and has he reformed after committing an extremely brutal crime? Does he deserve to be forgiven? Can he forgive himself as well as live with what he did? There are many questions surrounding the crime in which a young girl was murdered; Jack is one of the two boys involved. At the trial they blame each other, which leads us to believe that they both played a part in what happened. Jack survives his prison sentence and is lucky to have the caretaker Terry (Peter Mullan), who sincerely wishes him a second chance. But with the tabloids looming in the background and the jealous son of Terry, does he stand a chance? This made-for-television film was a gem among films at the 2008 Berlin Film Festival. It’s a modern-day Tolstoy where the audience is required to look at itself and its own judgments on crime, punishment, and redemption. (Shelly Schoeneshoefer)

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