Directed by: John Crowley
Starring: Andrew Garfield (Jack Burridge), Peter Mullan (Terry), Alfie Owen (Eric Wilson), Taylor Doherty (Phillip), Katie Lyons (Michelle), Shaun Evans (Chris), Skye Bennett (Schoolgirl), Josef Altin (Bully), Siobhan Finneran (Kelly)
Country: UK, Effed Up British Cinema
Language: English (Optional Eng Subs)
Genres: Based on a True Story, Teen-Childhood
Plot – Spoilers:
Boy A refers to the practice of hiding the identities of notorious child criminals to prevent vigilante attacks against their families or them, when released.
Andrew Garfield masterfully plays one such Boy A, released into the Manchester wilderness as an adult, where he adopts the new identity of Jack and attempts to conjure up a new life with the help of a rehabilitation worker. Having spent the latter half of his childhood in prison, Jack is socially awkward, but this endears him to his work colleagues and rehab supervisor.
Jack’s childhood leading up to the crime runs parallel to his present life and taunts your judgmental views just when they attempt to take shape. By the end of it all, the viewer’s opinion on the scale of effort by the system to give child criminals a second chance, mostly depends on whether or not you’ve known a child criminal, been the victim of a child criminal, or are one. For the truly neutral viewer, it could feel like a laudable side to the oft-derided system, as it tries to allow the possibility of a second life.
Boy A was based on a book that was itself partly inspired by the James Bulger case. According to the author, he was mostly inspired by the post-prison life of a friend and adapted that into the Bulger story.