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Butterfly Kiss

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Butterfly Kiss

Starring: Amanda Plummer, Saskia Reeves
Director: Michael Winterbotton
Rated: NR
RunTime: 85 Minutes
Release Date: April 1996
Genres: Action, Gay/Lesbian, Drama

*Also starring: Paul Bown, Freda Dowie, Fine Time Fontayne, Des McAleer, Ricky Tomlinson, Emily Aston

Review by Steve Rhodes
2½ stars out of 4

BUTTERFLY KISS is an effective and chilling study of the criminal psychosis of a serial killer. Secondarily the film is a love story between two disturbed women - one clearly insane and the other at least amoral and probably equally mentally unbalanced. The film is not for the faint of heart. It is a shocking show with a surprising conclusion.

Before I get into the body of the review, I want to warn potential viewers. Although I am giving this film a thumbs up, this is the type of picture that will have some viewers walking out early in disgust claiming the film is sick. If you see the movie and feel that way, I will completely understand. On the other hand, films like HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER, MANHUNTER, SEVEN, and THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS that realistically delve into the minds of brutal killers must contain a natural revulsion. Sometimes the violence in the show is gratuitous and sometimes not, and it is a fine line the director has to walk. Here I felt the acting was excellent and realistic, and the director (Michael Winterbottom) had everything right on the edge without going too far.

The plot of the shot is that Eunice, played by Amanda Plummer from PULP FICTION, is searching petrol station's convenience stores for her ex-lover Judith. When the clerks there turn out not to be Judith, she kills them. She also starts to have sex with men and then murders them. Plummer delivers an excellent performance reminiscent of James Woods. She has so much pent-up energy that you are certain she will ignite at any moment. She even pours gasoline over herself at one point which serves as an apt metaphor for her explosive volatility.

At one of the petrol stations she meets Miriam, played by Saskia Reeves who was so wonderful two years ago in TRAPS and is quite good her as well. Miriam takes an instant liking to Eunice and discounts her faults like killing people. When Eunice says, "I know I'm a bad person," Miriam reassures her with, "Don't be daft. There's no such thing as a bad person." Eunice has no sense of right and wrong and explains to Miriam that, "Killing people is nothing. I've done much worse than kill people." Miriam's mother is a disabled hermit who has a simple solution to keep from getting into trouble. As she explains, "If you never go out, you'll never do no evil." Miriam certainly does not follow her mother's advice.

The costumes (Rachael Fleming) are an important part of the show. Eunice is like a walking ad for a bondage magazine. She makes a metallic clinking sound since inside her clothes she has lots of chains and locks attached to various obscure portions of her anatomy. She likes showing her metal off, especially to her intended victims. Eunice also has 17 tattoos, and Miriam assures us that each has a special meaning.

The cinematography (Seamus McGarvey) of the film captures just the right gray melancholy feel, especially in the exterior scenes. The script by Frank Cottrell Boyce pulls no punches - hard hitting and to the point.

BUTTERFLY KISS runs just 1:28. It is not rated, but would probably get an R rating rather than an NC-17, but it is close. There is nudity, sex, and quite gory violence. This picture is not appropriate for teenagers. I recommend the show to people with strong stomachs because the acting is quite good and the story bizarre but interesting. I give it ** 1/2.

Copyright 1996 Steve Rhodes

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