Neil Jordan directed this adaptation of Patrick McCabe's novel about a boy's struggles with violence and mental illness. Francie Brady (Eamonn Owens) is a young boy growing up in Dublin in the early 1960s, where his life is dominated by his active imagination and his best friend Joe (Alan Boyle). But beneath this benign surface lurks a troubled soul; his father (Stephen Rea) is an embittered alcoholic, his mother (Aisling O'Sullivan) is emotionally unstable and periodically ends up in the local mental hospital (or as she calls it, "the garage," because it's where they take you when you break down), and their next-door neighbor, Mrs. Nugent (Fiona Shaw) often rants that the Bradys are "pigs" not fit to live with. For all their troubles, Francie fiercely loves his parents, and he can't abide Mrs. Nugent's insults. But his playful childhood pranks begin to advance into more destructive and menacing behavior, which leads him to his own stay in "the garage." Branded a lunatic by the community and shorn of his only close friendship when Joe takes up with Mrs. Nugent's son, Francie soon reaches the point of collapse. With nowhere to go, Francie takes an especially awful job as a butcher's assistant, and his overactive imagination goes into overdrive, flooding his mind with images of alien takeover, atomic apocalypse, and the Virgin Mary (Sinead O'Connor) that lead him further down the path toward shocking acts of violence.