Friday, August 8, 2008
Should a child who committed a crime be given a second chance? Answers might be quite different depending on whom we ask. Based on a novel, a British drama "Boy A" (UK 2007, 100 min.) does not intend to answer this question for the audience. The film focuses on "Boy A"—a name used by the media when reporting his crime. It tells a engrossing story about his struggle to live a second chance. It deals a tragic situation with strong characters, great performance, impressive cinematography, and a heavy heart.
"Boy A" is given a new name Jack Burridge (Andrew Garfield) when he is released after fourteen years in prison for a terrible crime he committed when he was ten years old. With the help from a social worker Terry (Peter Mullan), Jack hopes that he can rebuild a new life. His progress seems promising, as long as he keeps his past a secret.
Andrew Garfield's finely calibrated performance as Jack Burridge took this year's British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Best Actor Award. His previous noticeable roles include a smart student of Robert Redford in "Lions for Lambs". In "Boy A," his performance is amazingly mature portraying a shy, troubled, genuine, confused, and gentle young man. The development of the story and the character of Jack are heavily relying on Mr. Garfield's performance, because it is crucial for the audience to develop empathy toward this unfortunate young man. We are force to take a stand between forgiveness and crime punishment, just like many characters in the film have to do the same as well.
In flashback, we learned that Mr. Garfield's character Jack Burridge has a tough childhood to begin with. By the age of ten, he was put away for fourteen years. Without a normal growing up experience, now he is placed back to the society. He is scared, but he seems ready for a second chance. However, the victim's family and the public might not think he deserves one.
"Who decided who gets a second chance?"—"Boy A" poses this question to the audience, and I am not sure if I have the answer.