The film’s writer and director speaks about the acclaimed vigilante film at Circle Cinema.
Circle Cinema hosted an event last Thursday, Oct. 24, where they screened “The Boondock Saints” for its 20 year anniversary. The writer/director Troy Duffy was present, and there was a Q&A after the show.
The movie is excellent, and it isn’t hard to see why it raked in $50 million in Blockbuster sales. Featuring funny dialogue and plenty of action, it is a thoroughly enjoyable movie. The movie features Norman Reedus and Sean Patrick Flanery playing the McManus brothers: Irish Catholic twins who become vigilantes and vow to kill every major criminal in Boston. After they have a deadly run-in with the Russian mob and get off in self-defense, the media dubs them the “Boondock Saints,” perhaps inspiring their will for justice. Willem Dafoe plays Paul Smecker, a witty FBI agent on the organized crime task force who is determined to catch the McManus brothers and bring them to justice.
Some of the more memorable scenes (without providing spoilers) include a shootout in a hotel and an interesting interrogation. After the McManus brothers kill some Russian mobsters in an alley, one with a toilet dropped on his head, they turn themselves into the police. Here they are interviewed by Agent Smecker. The boys take both the audience and Smecker by surprise, showing they aren’t just meatpackers from the slums but are actually fluent in many languages. This prompts Smecker to ask, “What are you guys doing working at a friggin’ meat-packing plant?” It makes the audience wonder what other skills the brothers are hiding, such as their awesome ability to fire weapons with deadly accuracy. The shootout at the Copley Plaza hotel is captivating in its display of orchestrated violence: the twins hang down from the ceiling on a tangled bunch of rope, spinning around the room taking the bad guys out one shot at a time.
It still surprises me to think that this movie almost didn’t get made. Back in 1997, Troy Duffy was working at an LA bar when he came up with the script for “The Boondock Saints.” He was discovered and offered $450,000 by Miramax for his script as well as directing rights and soundtrack credits for his band, the Brood. Duffy disputed Miramax’s claim towards retaining casting of the film, and other issues. When Miramax dropped his film back in 1997, Duffy had to find a different source of funding for his movie. It was eventually picked up by Franchise Pictures who produced it on a $7 million budget in 1998, less than half of the $15 million Miramax was willing to provide.
The buyers who saw it at the April 1999 Cannes Film Festival loved “Boondock Saints,” but the Columbine massacre had happened only a few weeks prior, which made the film seem much less marketable. Because of this, the movie was only screened in five theaters nationwide for one week in January of 2000 and then went straight to Blockbuster for a DVD release. However, it now enjoys a wide following of heavily devoted fans, tens of thousands of which have the same tattoos featured in the movie, “Veritas Aequitas” or “truth and justice.”