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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Black Butterfly 2017 * * 1/2 Stars

Black ButterflyDirector: Brian Goodman
Year: 2017
Rated R
Rating: * * 1/2 Stars
Cast: Antonio Banderas, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Piper Perabo

Paul Lopez is a grizzled mountaineer who lives all by himself. He was once a successful wordsmith of books and screenplays. Now, Paul has severe writer's block, he drinks like a fish, and he's trying to sell his house because he's too broke to live there.

Lopez meets a drifter named Jack after seeing him at a diner and then picking him up along the road. He takes Jack in out of unexplained kindness with Jack giving off the notion of maybe being a cold-blooded killer. Jack eventually kidnaps poor Paul in his own abode. He then forces Paul to get off his butt and start writing again. Possibly, Paul could pen a story that resembles his own, weird encounter with Jack. Jack for lack of a better word, is a ticking time bomb who gradually frightens and perplexes. That's the gist of Black Butterfly, my latest review.

"Butterfly" stars Antonio Banderas as the downtrodden Paul and Jonathan Rhys Meyers as the ruthless Jack. These are two actors who rarely appear in widely released films these days. This automatically gives Black Butterfly the vibe of feeling like a 90-minute rental (which in the U.S. it most certainly is). Oh well. Banderas and Rhys Meyers give decent performances anyway and "Butterfly" despite its initial, slow burn approach, never leaves you bored or disinterested.

Image result for Black butterfly 2017 movie scenesDirector Brian Goodman (What Doesn't Kill You) creates a fair amount of tension, a solid sense of foreboding, and an ounce of claustrophobia that could leave any viewer of Black Butterfly feeling mildly discontented. What he doesn't do is up the ante on production values and protocol plausibility that could have helped "Butterfly" coerce its way into more movie theaters.

Vaguely resembling stuff like Misery or 1992's Basic Instinct, "Butterfly" might have benefited from having a more stirring musical score or a heightened level of eeriness which those films clearly possess. Also, Black Butterfly doesn't give us enough scenic views of beautiful Campaegli, Italy (which poses as central Colorado). That's a serious cinematography omission if you ask me.

Overall, "Butterfly" may not qualify as a masterpiece or a thriller that I would wholeheartedly recommend. However, I've never seen anything like it script-wise within the past ten years. As mentioned earlier, "Butterfly" has its main character dealing with writer's block. I too get writer's block occasionally and this flick resonated with me as a severed, frustration module.

Image result for black butterfly movie scenesBlack Butterfly's highlight is that it contains not one but two surprise endings. The first one dealing with a blown FBI cover, literally pulls the rug out from underneath you. The second ending which feels like it might have been replicated before, almost comes off as patterned hooey. I can just picture the meeting after final cut with "Butterfly's" screenwriters (Marc Frydman and Justin Stanley) giving each other high fives in bemused enlightenment.

Bottom line: Black Butterfly makes its case for originality and tricked, gotcha gold that's played just for the heck of it. Its title derives from a tattoo that Jonathan's Jack supposedly received in prison. In retrospect, Black Butterfly is also a Redbox endeavor that barely "flies" above the cinematic Mendoza Line. My rating: 2 and a half stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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