By Matthew Flamm
Updated October 29, 1998 at 05:00 AM EST

“The Butcher Boy.” Or, “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Psycho.” Neil Jordan’s beautifully photographed ramble stars Owens as Francie Brady, a preadolescent bully coming of age in early ’60s Ireland. His ma (O’Sullivan) is a crack-up. His da (Rea) is a drunk, a failed musician given to playing the “William Tell Overture” on trumpet while watching “The Lone Ranger” on TV. That bit and half a dozen others are lovely. But since we’re only barely encouraged to sympathize with Francie, when his antics escalate from the cute hooliganism of swiping comic books to the sentimentalized sociopathy of defecating in a neighbor’s living room, we’re only left hoping the little bugger gets locked up in solitary.

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