Jul 242017
 

Black Butterfly had so much potential but it was nearly all squandered away with a lame-ass secondary twist that even old M. Night would think was awful. But ignoring that aspect, and if I were to turn the movie off beforehand, it’s still a finely acted little thriller.

 

 

Black Butterfly
(2017)

Genre(s): Suspense Thriller
Lionsgate | R – 93 min. – $24.99 | July 25, 2017

Date Published: 07/24/2017 | Author: The Movieman

 


MOVIE INFO:
Directed by: Brian Goodman
Writer(s): Herve Kurian (French film Papillon Noir); Justin Stanley & Marc Frydman (screenplay)
Cast: Antonio Banderas, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Piper Perabo
DISC INFO:
Features: Commentary, Featurette, Trailer
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles: English SDH, English, Spanish
Disc Size: 22.0 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A

 


THE MOVIE — 3.0/5


Note: This review contains some MAJOR PLOT SPOILERS so readers, please be aware!

More often than not, when a twist comes at the end of a movie, usually there are two reactions: OMG or WTF. M. Night Shyamalan has been the recipient of both. But there’s a third reaction: UGH, that was mine with Black Butterfly which I really enjoyed and a mere two minutes almost completely wiped it all out.

The story centers on reclusive writer Paul (ANTONIO BANDERAS) experiencing writer’s block living in a remote cabin. After being rescued from an ass-kicking from a trucker he pissed off, he offers drifter Jack (JONATHAN RHYS MEYERS) a ride and, ultimately, a place to stay for a night. Not the brightest idea as Jack more than overstays his welcome and becomes threatening and eventually holds Paul hostage in his own home. Roped into the nightmare is Paul’s real estate agent, and hope-to-be girlfriend, Laura (PIPER PERABO). Now it’s the will to survive and escape with their lives.

As a psychological thriller, Black Butterfly isn’t a bad little film and features two very compelling performances from Antonio Banderas and Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and while I don’t think it’s some kind of acting tour-de-force or anything, it does help push the story forward and an especially slow first act that more builds on the atmosphere and set-up. Piper Perabo for her somewhat limited role, is serviceable as the third wheel.

Now, and this is MAJOR SPOILER territory, there are actually two twists in the film. I’ll try not to be too specific, but in the first, which I liked, we got a big switcharoo for all three characters and who we thought they were and although I kind of predicted it (pondering earlier if the movie would be better for it), it still was a cool reveal, if not implausible and legally speaking, tenuous at best. Where this movie falls apart, and as I alluded in my opening, is they took the Newhart route for the second twist which only made me groan and excised any good will I had toward the movie in the preceding 85-minutes (or so).

This marks Brian Goodman’s second feature following 2008’s What Doesn’t Kill You starring Mark Ruffalo and Ethan Hawke, and generally known as a character actor, his longest stint was on Rizzoli & Isles, the direction actually isn’t half bad. No, there isn’t any shots that stand out or anything but with pacing, he does manage to maintain the tension and suspense. Shame the script didn’t do him, or anyone, any favors.

If not for those last couple of minutes, Black Butterfly would’ve been an effective little psychological thriller and instead, it’s ruined with a hack-eyed “twist”. I don’t know if the original French film, Papillon Noir, was the same or not, but presumably (or hopefully) it was better handled. I have to wonder if this was tacked to make for a happier or more uplifting ending. Good news, you can always turn the movie off before that scene, in which I would give this a solid 3.75/5…

 

SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.25/5


This release comes with a title-embossed slip cover.

Audio Commentary – Director Brian Goodman and Co-Writer Marc Frydman provide a somewhat low key track but it seems the two are friendly enough and do offer some behind the scenes stories about locations.

Black Butterfly: Back Stage (9:11; HD) is your standard behind-the-scenes featurette with on-set interviews with the cast and crew as they discuss the characters and plot.

Trailer (2:20; HD)

PreviewsAftermath, Extortion, Isolation, Arsenal, Solace

 


VIDEO – 4.0/5


Black Butterfly comes to Blu-ray through Lionsgate and is presented with a 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer. While not the perfect looking picture, some of the wider shots aren’t incredibly sharp as closer-ups do tend to show more detail, it’s still pleasant enough. It has minor pops of colors, especially for the outdoor scenes as the ones inside are on the darker side. But there weren’t any noticeable instances of artifacting, aliasing or banding.

AUDIO – 4.0/5


Included is a basic DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track and considering a good portion of the film, particularly the first half or so, is almost entirely dialogue driven, the bulk of the audio comes out of the center channel, though I did hear some ambient noises (of nature) for the front and rears. When the action does pick up, it is distributed nicely across all five speakers and receives a minor boost with the LFE channel.

 


OVERALL – 2.5/5


Overall, Black Butterfly had so much potential but it was nearly all squandered away with a lame-ass secondary twist that even old M. Night would think was awful. But ignoring that aspect, and if I were to turn the movie off beforehand, it’s still a finely acted little thriller with some well done and suspense-filled moments. This Blu-ray release offers up good, albeit not great, video and audio transfers as well as some so-so bonus material top-lined by the commentary track.

 

 

 

 

Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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