Black Butterfly (2017)

  • Time: 93 min
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Director: Brian Goodman
  • Cast: Antonio Banderas, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Piper Perabo


Outside a mountain town grappling with a series of abductions and murders, Paul (Antonio Banderas), a reclusive writer, struggles to start what he hopes will be a career-saving screenplay. After a tense encounter at a diner with a drifter named Jack (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), Paul offers Jack a place to stay-and soon the edgy, demanding Jack muscles his way into Paul’s work. As a storm cuts off power to the isolated cabin, the two men begin a jagged game of one-upmanship that will bring at least one tale to an end.


  • 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. They 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.

    Director 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” stymie 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 in certain scenes 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 in 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.

    Black 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 Justine 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. It’s a Redbox endeavor that barely “flies” above the cinematic Mendoza Line. My rating: 2 and a half stars.

    Rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars

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  • “First you put a knife to my throat,then a gun to my head. And maybe I am crazy too, because why I didn’t toss you out day one, is baffling to me.”

    What to do when you’re a writer of best-sellers and you suffer from writer’s block? Yep, you start drinking till you drop. As a result it gets even more difficult to come up with something to write about. And what if you’re witnessing how an unknown young guy grabs an aggressive trucker by the scruff of the neck and throws him out of a road restaurant? Indeed, you invite that stranger to your mountain chalet to hide for an upcoming storm. Two events that’ll get Paul (Antonio Banderas) into trouble for sure. Normally, such stupidities would annoy me right away. But this time it was the end of the movie that pissed me off. Do you sometimes have those moments that you wonder why you actually did all the effort for something and conclude that this effort was ultimately plain useless? Like for example you just cleaned your car devotedly until it shines. And you leave for a relaxing trip around the countryside afterwards. And all of a sudden you cross a manure spreader whose sealing malfunctions, after which your newly washed car is being smeared with excrement’s. Well, I also had that feeling at the end of this movie.

    Paul (Antonio Banderas) is a disgraced ex-best seller writer whose life follows a downward spiral. Full of setbacks. His movie scenarios aren’t good enough according to his agent. His wife left him. Whatever he writes isn’t selling anymore, causing financial problems. He can’t even pay his purchases at the local grocery shop. Paul is forced to sell his beautiful cabin in the mountains. Only his real estate broker isn’t doing a great job and can’t see to sell it. And a stubborn drink addiction isn’t helping either. On the contrary. It only worsens everything. And then there’s this little scuffle where a young guy named Jack (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) intervenes. And when Paul is so good to offer this seemingly quiet young guy to stay over for the night, he appears to be a bit psychopathic. Before Paul realizes it, he’s a kind of hostage in his own home. It’s not so difficult to see this movie as variant of the movie “Misery” from here on. The only difference is that there aren’t wood blocks and an axe involved. It’s the beginning of a psychological fight between the two protagonists.

    “Black butterfly” isn’t really a bad thriller. And the conflict between Antonio Banderas and Jonathan Rhys Meyers is extremely exciting. In any case, it’s more exciting than the psychological game Travolta and De Niro played in “Killing Season”. The rivalry in “Black butterfly” is much more intense. Unfortunately, there were some developments which turned the whole movie into a banal evening entertainment. There are innocent women disappearing in the region as well. Apparently a serial killer is on the loose. That’s what you’ll see in the introduction. However, after 15 minutes you’ve forgotten this given fact since your attention is drawn to Jack’s intimidating behavior.

    But, as I said earlier, especially the multiple twists were a little bit over the top. If only they had made this movie 5 minutes shorter, I’d probably judge it more positively. Even the acting was of acceptable level. No Oscar-worthy performances, but still convincing enough. I only hope that the career of Banderas isn’t going the same way as Bruce Willis for instance. Turning up in negligible B movies. Because to be honest, the last movie he appeared in (“Security”) was of an equal level as this flick. So if you decide to watch this meaningless movie, can I give you some good advice? Turn off the film 5 minutes before the ending. Guaranteed you’ll say it was a not-so-bad movie.

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