Starring Antonio Banderas, Jonathan Rhys Myers, Piper Perabo
I had all but given up on the Memorial Weekend movies until I saw new thriller Black Butterfly. The trailer didn’t show anything too enticing, it looked like another cat and mouse thriller, set in a remote location, shot on a cheap budget. The first few minutes of the thriller even met my lower expectations, but something happens, something unique. Both Banderas and Myers have played their share of unsettling, creepy roles; here they get to face off in a film where nothing is what is seems. However, the brilliant the writing is, you don’t really know something is off until it smacks you clear in the face. We are talking Sixth Sense sort of surprise that takes this 90-minute thriller from zero to sixty in less than a minute.
After a road rage incident and confrontation at a local diner, Paul (Banderas) is accosted by a truck driver who is removed from the restaurant by a drifter. A washed-up writer living a secluded life in Colorado, Paul encounters the mystery guy Jack (Myers), hitchhiking on his way home. To say thanks, he offers him a place to stay for a few days. The charismatic stranger cleans up Paul’s messy cabin he’s trying to sell, cooks dinner and even offers to “handyman” some of the properties noticeable issues. Instead of working on his next book, Paul sleeps most of the day with a bottle by his side, until the grocery delivery man knocks on the door. Jack gets the high-powered rifle and demands no one enter the house. Paul becomes a prisoner in his own home while Jack violently demands they write his next story together.
More twists and turns in this script than I have seen on film in a while.
There are more twists and turns in this script than I have seen on film in a while. I like movies that can turn everything they have sold you for forty minutes on its head, while being able to carefully go back and explain how. The screenwriters get credit here for the surprises and the decision’s to validate them by showing the audience what they missed. Everything is explained with satisfaction, making this thriller quite exciting. There isn’t any grand cinematography happening here, no memorable original score to create tension, everything is about the script and drawing the audience in.
At first I thought it was just another thriller about someone using bad judgement and inviting a stranger home (I am looking at you Berlin Syndrome). Later I thought it was borrowing ideas from Johnny Depp’s Secret Window (thankfully it does not). What the horribly titled Black Butterfly does, is suck you into a story, mounted on good performances, while tiny details that appear to be nothing, slowly add up. There are some editing issues and a few weird camera pans that seem out of place, but other than that this ‘Ends Justify the Means’ thriller is satisfying, making for a great Friday night flick on the big screen or at home.
It’s been too long since we had a thriller with this many good twists and turns.