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.

One review

  • 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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