Plot: What’s it about?
Moncho (Manuel Lozano) is a young man who has just started school for the first time, so he is a little worried and afraid of his new surroundings. But his fears prove to be unfounded, as he fits right into the realm within school, with lots of friends and a bright future ahead of him. He makes friends all the time and always look to make more, but his best friend of all is Don Gregorio (Fernando Fernan Gomez), his teacher who always looks to show Moncho the doors of opportunity in front of him. Even his saxophone toting brother takes Moncho close to him and at one point, he is taken along on a trek to a musical show in another town. In other words, this has been a great year for Moncho, perhaps the best one he’s ever likely to see. But as a political rebellion starts to rise, Moncho’s happiness is placed in danger, as lines are drawn and sides are taken, sometimes pulling apart even the closest of friends.
I had read a lot of positive reviews for this picture, so I was looking forward to viewing Butterfly when it arrived on DVD. In the end however, I was let down by this one and perhaps that is due to all the praise, which raised my expectations too much. So while this turned out be a good movie, all the accolades and such built it up too much, so the film fell short of the greatness I had hoped for. The performances, writing, and technical details were all well done, but never moved up into the great realm, which is what I had counted on. But don’t think this is a bad movie, as it isn’t, but don’t expect much more than a solid motion picture. The storyline covers a lot of ground, but does so on a very basic level, which makes it simple to take it all in. Some nice visuals add a lot to the atmosphere in the end, but I was also never that taken with the film, which left me disappointed. But if you’re a fan of foreign cinema and need a rental, give this one a chance.
The finest performance in Butterfly comes from Fernando Fernan Gomez, who has been in a lot of terrific movies in his career. He also done some work in the director’s chair, but he best known as an actor and has starred in almost two-hundred motion pictures. I know Gomez is not the most well known performer in the business and his films don’t always rake in the cash, but his work is usually excellent and here is no exception. Gomez is able to bring across the emotional depth of his character, but I do wish he was given a little more to work with, as he seems limited at times within this role. Even so, this is another more than solid performance from Gomez, who continues to prove his consistency. Other films with Gomez include The Grandfather, Half of Heaven, The Most Beautiful Night, Hail Hazana, I Saw Her First, Voyage To Nowhere, The Sea and The Weather, The Age of Beauty, and All About My Mother.
Video: How does it look?
Butterfly is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This is an above average presentation, but some flaws surface to keep the score down in the end. The image looks very sharp at all times, but I saw frequent edge enhancement, which is not good in the least. Even though the instances were slight, it was enough to notice and as such, enough to mention here. There is also some grain in a handful of scenes, but again, not enough to ruin the visuals by any means. The colors look strong, flesh tones are natural, and I saw no errors in terms of contrast either. A few flaws aside, this is still a strong treatment and one that should please fans.
Audio: How does it sound?
This disc includes a Dolby Digital 5.1 track, which is presented in the film’s original Spanish language, very cool indeed. This isn’t the kind of movie to show off your system with, but this track is a good and more than handles the needs of this material. The music comes across well here and while the sound effects aren’t powerful, they are well presented and that is what counts in this case. I heard no real issues with the dialogue, which seems sharp and clean at all times, with no volume errors to discuss. This disc also includes a French 2.0 surround track, as well as optional English subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc contains no bonus materials.