I rewatched The Boondock Saints over the weekend (I first wrote about it here). It gave me a headache. I forgot how violent the movie is- every scene has blood, fighting and/or screaming. It never dawned on me that as much as this is an “angel film” it’s also a mobster film in the vein of Bronx Tale or Donnie Brasco. If you combine Wings of Desire, The Godfather and WFF Wrestling, you end up with something akin to The Boondock Saints.
While the script clearly points to Murphy and Connor MacManus as angels- Agent Smecker even directly calls them “angels-” Rocco’s role is vague. Is he an angel, or human? Something in between? If human, are Murphy and Connor his guardian angels? Why is Rocco always screaming and freaking out? Bad acting or is there a deeper meaning? My sense is that Rocco is an “angel in training” because he tells Murphy and Connor “See ya on the flip side” – an allusion to heaven? But their strange allegiance and protectiveness of Rocco makes me think perhaps they are his guardian angels. Then again, why would an Italian mobster have Irish guardian angels?
I remain cringingly puzzled by Willem Dafoe’s weird performance as a gay FBI agent. Was the portrayal his choice or was he following Duffy’s direction? If it was at Duffy’s direction, what was the reasoning behind it? Is Agent Smecker, too, supposed to represent something larger than life?
While rewatching I asked my husband what other films Troy Duffy has directed; he looked confused and said he wasn’t sure beyond the Saints sequel. This surprised me as my husband is a human encyclopedia for all things Hollywood.
It turns out Duffy never did make any films beyond the Saints movies, in large part because he was blacklisted by none other than the now infamous Harvey Weinstein! Weinstein was first to purchase the rights to The Boondock Saints, only to drop it after various falling outs with Duffy. Saints was eventually produced by Franchise Pictures with half the original budget proposed by Miramax. There’s actually a documentary about the whole ordeal that I’m dying to watch, but it’s not on amazon, netflix or youtube.
One detail I picked up: in “the cat scene” Murphy (played by Norman Reedus of Walking Dead fame) refers to himself and his brother as “7-11.” This immediately brought to mind the Matthew 7:7-11 passage that is well known to christians: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door shall be opened… If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
Not sure if the reference is intentional, but it’s certainly apropos to this wildly dark film.