Director: Brian Goodman
Cast: Antonio Banderas, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Piper Perabo
Release Date: July 25, 2017
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 7/10
Disc Rating: 7/10
Antonio Banderas (Desperado), Jonathan Rhys Meyers (Mission: Impossible III), and Piper Perabo (The Prestige) highlight this riveting adaptation of an acclaimed French thriller. As a serial killer’s latest slaying shakes up a remote Colorado town, desperate writer Paul (Banderas) offers drifter Jack (Meyers) shelter at his isolated cabin. Does Jack’s violent behavior make him a suspect in the murders menacing the area? Or is the killer’s story even more terrifying?
‘Black Butterfly’ tells the story of a struggling, alcoholic writer who after being down on his luck and absent of any paying gigs for too long is now attempting to sell his secluded country home in order to keep afloat. Still residing in the home while hopefully awaiting a perspective buyer to come along with some actual interest in the house, Paul (Banderas) currently spends his days attempting to write a new masterpiece and trying to land a date with the beautiful realtor in charge of selling his place. But when a tense encounter at a local diner is avoided thanks to the welcome intervention of a young drifter named Jack (Meyers), Paul promptly offers the stranger a place to stay. Yet that invitation may have been extended too soon as Jack’s violent temper slowly causes Paul to question his safety and whether this stranger may in fact be something far more terrifying than he could have imagined.
Directed by Brian Goodman (likely best known for his acting work in TV’s Rizzoli & Isles among others) from a screenplay by Justin Stanley (The Shadow Men ) and Marc Frydman (marking his first work as a writer), Goodman does a solid job at the helm of ‘Black Butterfly’ which marks his sophomore effort in the director’s chair. The film also owes a good share of credit to the talented folks that make up the relatively limited cast including Antonio Banderas (Desperado), Jonathan Rhys Meyers (TV’s Vikings) and Piper Perabo (TV’s Covert Affairs) in the three most prominent roles, each offering quite capable performances and helping a great deal to keep the film moving along as swift and tensely as it does.
‘Black Butterfly’ is a tense, well acted and beautifully shot thriller that relies on the talented cast and intricate plot to keep viewers on the edge of their seat as opposed to senseless violence and pointless insanity. Nonetheless, while the film certainly has a great deal going for it, it also suffers in a few painful ways, particularly a few areas to which the story goes and a few moments that just feel illogical. Yet even while the film is burdened by these negative elements, it still manages to find its way above at least a good portion of the bad and deliver a thoroughly enjoyable and well crafted ride in most regards. Director Brian Goodman does a more than capable job guiding this thriller along its course and his guidance is further complimented by the fantastic performances delivered by both Antonio Banderas and Jonathan Rhys Meyers whose talented portrayals of the leads help to make even some of the goofier moments appear believable and at least relatively serious. Albeit certainly flawed in some significant ways, ‘Black Butterfly’ still manages to offer a fairly clever thriller for the most part that’s handled with care and made just that much greater thanks to spot on performances from the two leads and while I would suggest going in with limited expectations, fans of Banderas and/or Meyers’s work, along with anyone that enjoys a tense and fun thriller with solid acting likely won’t regret giving this one a whirl. I would urge you to do so if it intrigues you in the slightest, although it’s probably not necessary to immediately run out and acquire a copy.
Overall, ‘Black Butterfly’ isn’t a perfect piece of filmmaking and undoubtedly suffers a few substantial hiccups throughout its course, yet as a whole it still comes together as a calm, gorgeous and intense thriller that also manages to deliver a few true surprises. Capably guided along its twisty path by director Brian Goodman and further boosted by notable performances from leads Banderas and Meyers, it definitely manages to keep you glued to the screen for the majority of its runtime and is likely worth checking out for any fan of Banderas or Meyers, along with anyone who appreciates a fun and intense thriller that doesn’t rely on buckets of blood and senseless graphic violence to keep the viewer enthralled. It should prove worth your time at the very least if you should happen to come across it one day on cable or your favorite streaming provider and find yourself in the mood for an enjoyable thriller.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Black Butterfly’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks pretty great as a whole and provides a clean, sharp and detailed presentation from start to finish that suffers no notable faults along the way. It holds up admirably even during the darkly lit and fast moving sequences, never causing anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a solid high definition video presentation from Lionsgate that should have no trouble pleasing the majority of folks.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack offers a clean, crisp and occasionally somewhat aggressive audio presentation throughout. It consistently takes advantage of all five available channels in order to send the music, along with some mild action effects, nature elements and more throughout the various speakers when appropriate, and never conflicting with any dialogue or other auditory elements that might be occurring simultaneously. Overall, this is a highly capable 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that delivers in every way required of it.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Black Butterfly’ includes a few decent extras. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Director Brian Goodman and Co-writer Marc Frydman’, in addition to a behind the scenes Featurette ‘Black Butterfly: Backstage’ (running approximately 9 minutes in length) which includes some behind the scenes footage and interviews/comments with the cast and crew. The ‘Trailer’ (approximately 2 minutes) for the movie is also included.