Borstal Boy Movie Review
Thanks to his heavy involvement in IRA-related activities, the film opens with Brendan (Shawn Hatosy, Anywhere But Here, John Q) in jail in East Anglia, England. Among the prison-camp personalities that the overwhelmed Brendan encounters are a thieving gay sailor named Millwall (Danny Dyer), whom he eventually. He also finds a love interest in the lovely and supportive Liz (Eva Birthistle), who happens to be the daughter of the facility's presiding Governor (Michael York). Consequently, Brendan begins to shape his outlook on life, challenging what was once a rigid belief system entrenched in his conservative shell.
Borstal Boy, gallantly written by Nye Heron and director Sheridan, is masterfully shot courtesy of Ciaran Tanham's active camera, capturing the taut and stylish feel of the film. Hatosy adds a touch of mischievousness and scruffy bewilderment as the soul-searching, stuttering rogue. And especially memorable is Dyer's gay sailor with whom Brendan finds an attraction: gently funny, complex, and ambiguously disturbing.
The recurring theme, appropriately so, suggests that Brendan Behan may be the contemporary of another tortured creative homosexual Irish icon--the legendary Oscar Wilde. Refreshingly stark in its cavorting homoeroticism, Borstal Boy is a stimulating tale that recalls the adventurous antics of an Irish literary figurehead who engaged in a colorful and carousing existence during tremendous, trying times.