icon-email icon-facebook icon-linkedin icon-print icon-rss icon-search icon-stumbleupon icon-twitter icon-arrow-right icon-email icon-facebook icon-linkedin icon-print icon-rss icon-search icon-stumbleupon icon-twitter icon-arrow-right icon-user Skip to content

'Black Butterfly': Rocky Mountain Low

'Black Butterfly': Rocky Mountain Low

© Paradox Studios

Brian Goodman’s “Black Butterfly” is a moderately effective thriller with several “gotcha!” twists … until it delivers one gotcha twist too many.

Paul (Antonio Banderas) is a once-promising novelist and screenwriter now fallen upon hard times. He sits in his remote cabin home in the Rockies (actually, the film was shot in Italy) pecking aimlessly at his typewriter, drinking heavily and hoping for inspiration. It isn’t forthcoming.

Meanwhile, a serial killer has been terrorizing the neighborhood, snatching young women who are never seen again.

During a confrontation at a local diner with a bad-tempered trucker, Paul is defended by Jack (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), a mysterious drifter. Thankful for the intervention, he invites Jack to stay a few days at his home. Jack agrees to make some repairs to the place, which the financially-strapped Paul must reluctantly sell.

But there’s something a bit off about this guest. Jack keeps in his backpack newspaper clippings about the missing women. He can be surly and suspicious.

Eventually it all boils down to Paul and his realtor (Piper Perabo) being held hostage by the shotgun-waving Jack. They make a desperate attempt at escape.

“Black Butterfly” (the title refers to a jailhouse tattoo sported by Jack) has been reasonably well acted despite what seems like awfully familiar territory.

The screenwriters, Marc Freedman and Justin Stanley, deliver a couple of logically shaky but dramatically effective switcheroos. In its second half, “Black Butterly” turns the story inside out, making us question everything we think we know about the characters.

That would be fine and dandy, but the writers couldn’t leave enough alone. Ultimately they deliver a last-minute revelation that turns the film into the equivalent of the notorious “dream season” of TV’s “Dallas.”

Uh … no thanks.

Robert Butler

Robert W. Butler joined the staff of the Kansas City Star in 1970 and from 1977 to 2011 was the paper's movie reviewer.

Learn More

More from Robert Butler

Latest Stories

Columbia

Columbia

When we arrived in Englewood, New Jersey, there were letters of acceptance from NYU and CCNY, but no word from Columbia, which was my first choice.

Stay Up to Date

Sign up for articles by Robert Butler and other Senior Correspondents.

Latest Stories

Columbia

Columbia

When we arrived in Englewood, New Jersey, there were letters of acceptance from NYU and CCNY, but no word from Columbia, which was my first choice.

Last Days of Columbus

Last Days of Columbus

Monday last was Columbus Day. For me the sole practical implication of that fact was that there was no mail delivery, but I was aware of a cloud of metaphysical implications forming on the horizon.

Love Old Journalists

Our Mission

To amplify the voices of older adults for the good of society

Learn More

News & Opinion from Senior Correspondents Across the Globe