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Movie Rewind: The first ‘Boondock Saints’

Matt Brown | Thursday, November 12, 2009

If you had to choose three words to describe “The Boondock Saints,” it would probably be some combination of Irish, Catholic and awesome.  Now if you were to go up to any Notre Dame student and asked them to pick three words to describe this great institution, I challenge you to find someone who would disagree with those three same words.  Look at that Golden Dome and tell me you don’t get a little swagger.   However, unarguable popularity of “The Boondock Saints” on campus cannot be attributed to Irish pride alone. 

The film is a nonstop thrill ride, filled with unexpected laughs and unforgettable lines.
As any self-righteous moviegoer will tell you, a movie is nothing without characters you completely believe in.  As soon as you see Connor and Murphy MacManus (Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus) walk up the church aisle like the religious men they are, then get into a brawl at a meat packing plant later that day, you want to be best friends and drinking buddies with these guys.  I have never been more jealous of anyone than David Della “Funny Man” Rocco (played by the actor of the same name) when he walks into McGinty’s Pub and is greeted like a brother. Rocco also may be the funniest character in the movie: From killing cats to telling jokes, he lightens the mood of the film and provides relief before, or while, death is delivered to those who deserve it. 

The amazing performances given by Flanery, Reedus and Willem Dafoe as Detective Greenly are made even more impressive by the flawless interaction of the peripheral characters. The three Boston police detectives play their roles perfectly and you could almost feel bad for the detective if you weren’t laughing so hard. 

Any movie with great characters can be ruined by sloppy editing and uninspired directing but with “The Boondock Saints,” director Troy Duffy left nothing to be desired.  I cannot say enough about his method of showing the staging of the firefight, then cutting to the aftermath and police reaction.  This allows the audience to listen to the police theories of serial crushers with complete faith in their ability before being shown exactly what happened, lending humor and clarity to the progressing movie.

The music is plain epic throughout the course of the film.  It is one of the greatest crimes of the 2000s that the soundtrack could not be made available, but good news, with the release of “The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day,” a combined soundtrack from both movies is being released. 

If you haven’t seen this movie, do it.  If you like this movie, watch it again, and again it only gets better.  If you don’t like this movie, I don’t know how to relate to you.
To close I leave you with the prayer that echoes through my head everytime I watch and sends shivers down my spine:

And shepherds we shall be,
   For Thee, my Lord, for Thee.
   Power hath descended forth from Thy hand,
   That our feet may swiftly carry out   Thy command.
So we shall flow a river forth to Thee
And teeming with souls shall it ever be.
In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritu  Sancti

Matt Brown can be contacted at mbrown14@nd.edu
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.