Recluse comes to regret bringing good samaritan home in ‘Black Butterfly’
Kam Williams | 6/1/2017, 6 a.m.
Paul (Antonio Banderas) is the literary equivalent of a one-hit wonder. The flash-in-the-pan enjoyed a short-lived success, thanks to the best-seller he published while still in his 20s. Back then, he became the toast of the town when the popular tome was adapted to the big screen, even though the movie bore no resemblance to his book besides having the same title.
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But that was decades ago. Now, all the money’s gone. The hangers-on have disappeared, too, and so has his wife (Alexandra Klim). As of late, he’s turned into a recluse, living alone in the mountains of Colorado in a rundown cabin he can no longer afford to keep up.
He fritters away most of his days drinking at a desk in a darkened room, praying for the inspiration to produce another masterpiece. Unfortunately, he’s suffering from such a terrible case of writer’s block that all he ever types are the words “I am stuck” over and over again.
Upon bottoming out with little hope of recovering, Paul admits to himself that it’s time to sell the house. So, he lists the property with Laura (Piper Perabo), an attractive realtor he hires more for her looks than her expertise. After all, he knows he’s her very first client.
His judgment proves even worse when it comes to making friends. He decides to bring back to his place the Good Samaritan (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) who saved him from a trucker with road rage. Only after Paul agrees to let the stranger crash for a few days does the guy reveal that he “just got out of prison and ain’t never goin’ back.”
Might this be the creep responsible for the recent rash of murders in the area? Unfortunately, Paul’s located in an isolated spot in the woods without any internet, TV or cell phone service. Nevertheless, the plot thickens with the unannounced arrival of several visitors, including Laura, a delivery boy (Nicholas Aaron) and a cop (Vincent Riotta) looking for a missing mailman.
Thus unfolds “Black Butterfly,” an English-language remake of “Papillon Noir” (2008), a French film featuring the same basic premise. Directed by Brian Goodman (“Sal”), this compelling suspense thriller slowly ratchets up the tension only to unravel during the denouement thanks to a humdinger of a twist.