The first scene of Boy A unsettles an indication of what is to come. Two men – one middle-aged, the other in his twenties – sit on opposite sides of a table. They are in the process of renaming the younger man. They settle on “Jack.” Jack now has to use this name and forget his earlier identity. The why, which takes us back to the past, and the what, which allows acclaimed Irish director John Crowley to explore the reinvention of a personality, will gradually be revealed in this striking and distinctly powerful film.
Boy A compellingly moves between present and past as we discover who Jack really is and what happened to him as a youngster. We are partly in Ken Loach territory here, as the nitty-gritty feel of working-class England concretely places the characters in a real world of work and family. But this is very much Crowley’s film, and he is beautifully assisted by a trio of unaffected, completely natural performances.
Piers Handling, Toronto International Film Festival Programme
Peter Mullan, Andrew Garfield,Katie Lyons, Shaun Evans