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'The Butterfly Effect'

A young boy with a gift to alter the lives of people learns a hard lesson about tampering with God and fate itself.


By Julie D. Griffin

The Butterfly Effect Premier at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.
Photo by Mark Mainz/Getty Images

"It is said that something as small as the wing of a butterfly can cause a typhoon one-half way around the world."

Whether side swiped by a beautiful butterfly or not, the outstanding performance of Ashton Kusher who stars as a boy with paranormal power who abreast of a suspense thriller which borders a series of dream and sometimes nightmare segments ~ From boyhood to manhood, he makes a series of horrifying errors after he interferes with the alteration of the sphere of the lives of more than one family. Prone to unexplainable fits of violence as a small boy, causing even the death of his own father, who only attempted to stop his son from performing what the film depicts as tampering with the lives and fate and outcomes of people as something evil, as an intervention upon the plan or design of God. First, his evil interference destroys the life of a young woman and her baby daughter. Next, his power creates what makes a drug addicted prostitute out of another young woman. He steals her hope and robs her of the right to her own child. Other things he makes happen where his paranormal force alters the trade of good for evil for his own selfish reasons include making his own father die, and even stealing the property and destinies meant for others to lavish them upon himself. That his evil farce might go as far as robbing even the nations of a healing branch does not go too far a motif to exaggerate the tragedy of a young helion gone mad after a complete usurp of a position and a place of the destiny of another. But as if the resulting punishment forward of time travel, he begins to have regular and violent seizures which grip him and make blood ooze from the nostrils of his face, and as if being punished in some involvement of the expungement of the legal records of another who a drug dealer only two weeks after the arrest given custody of a baby. And as if the demonic and reasonless covet and hatred of full grown supposed adults could not grow worse. Then he even goes back in time, visits his father at the mental institution as a six-year old, guards slam his father to the ground of the concrete floor and the father dies. Seven years after thirteen-something, a now college student boy reads from his childhood journals bits and edges of the story of his life some remembered, some not. "It's like my mind refuses to believe what I am seeing," reads the white and black spackled composition book. He thinks back on his friend and wonders what happened and why. It is not clear at the beginning of the film whether the cruel acts and events happening around the feature star of the film may point to some type of archeotype or supernatural poltergeist. But all available light aside, the dark boy with the evil power makes bad happen all the way around, and a film which keeps you seated on the cutting edge of constant suspense as the only good thing about all of the events. Not the kind of film prone to allow you to sleep through the amount of cross cutting which also indicates that the story plays out as one of those where future events overlap the past. Without giving away the surprise plot and ending which makes the horror suspense film interesting beyond all measure, first the producers saw fit to gauge a most necessary intercut to double back ~ The place where lens meets linear and no real loose adaptation although the dual and repeated stories of some of the time travel seem to repeatedly affect the meaning of the film. To apply the motif of art which imitates art and other reflections, one feature of the film, his family relocates as a result of all of the adverse situations going on ~ The clamor of changing scenario and the variety of groups of people encountered, some who care, others who do not and some who react with positive affirmation and along with all of the negative energy going on, the film does seem to honor a given description outlined at the start, along with the suggestion of what kind of evil comes of those who own supernatural powers and use them for selfish reasons, are immature about the gift, or who act irresponsibly relating to same. In short, tampering with the destinies and lives of others while thinking the whole thing a secret, this is no secret at all. The boy learns the harsh reality of the dangerous outcome of interfering with the design of life for his own selfish gain, the butterfly effect or an eventual boomerang which turns on him and begins the hunt for his soul. The story comes full circle to elaborate on the motif of that a thing as small as a butterfly has the power to start a storm which goes around the world.