By Troy Patterson
Updated October 30, 1998 at 05:00 AM EST

Or, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Psycho. Neil Jordan’s beautifully photographed ramble The Butcher Boy stars Eamonn Owens as Francie Brady, a preadolescent bully coming of age in early ’60s Ireland. His ma (Aisling O’Sullivan) is a crack-up. His da (Stephen 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. C

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