In The Boondock Saints, two Irish brothers Connor and Murphy MacManus become vigilante killers who target evil and immoral men in their home city of Boston. During the film, one of their friends Rocco joints them in their antics and assists them in targeting and killing members of the mafia. Rocco is able to assist them as he himself is in the mafia, and therefore has knowledge as to the identity, location, etc of mafiosos that the brothers wish to kill.

My question is: Why did the brothers not consider Rocco evil, as he himself was a mafioso and performed several highly immoral and questionable acts during the film? For example, at one point during the film Rocco intended to murder other mafiosos to further his career. In addition, he touches the stripper's breasts at the hit in the brothel even though he and the brothers decided to kill other (non-mafia-related) men simply because they were also there at the brothel.

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Because Rocco is their friend

Rocco is their friend, and its likely any crime that would have pushed him onto their "list" would have been overlooked to some extent. Rocco even questions them:

Anyone YOU think is evil?

And its clear that while they think Rocco is a bit dumb in a friendly way, they don't think he's evil. They chastise him whenever he commits an immoral act, threatening the priest, groping the dancer etc, but they still don't think he's evil. He does go to kill the Russians, but he doesn't, they do. And again, those he goes to kill and does kill are guilty anyway

But they do think the two guys in the other booths are evil, hence they kill them. Rocco even offers and they say no I've been waiting for this guy.

And when Rocco struggles to kill the "Grey Man Assassin" the brothers let him struggle to make him "earn his stripes" and make up for past mistakes

Rocco never (truly) broke their rules

Rocco is constantly referred to as "the package boy". All he does for the mafia is deliver packages. Yes, he worked for mafia, but he never actually took part in the evil acts. He was witness to many as shown when they discuss the various mafioso they intend to hit.

And while this next section comes after a certain scene

Rocco's Death, and the discovery of their father

The Saints announce their rules, which if you consider Rocco never actually broke them.

We do not ask for your poor or your hungry, We do not want your tired and sick.

It is your corrupt we claim. It is your evil, who will be sought by us.

With every breath we shall hunt them down.

Each day we will spill their blood till it rains down from the skies.

Do not kill, do not rape, do not steal. These are principles which every man of every faith can embrace.

These are not polite suggestions. They are codes of behavior and those that ignore them will pay the dearest cost.

There are varying degrees of evil. We urge you lesser forms of filth (pointing to Yakavetta's people, that they know are evil and have probably done evil things but have no knowledge of specific acts) Not to push the bounds and cross over into true corruption... into our domain.

For if you do, there will come the day when you look behind you and see we three. And on that day you will reap it.

The only crimes we see Rocco commit is murder but those he murders are themselves bad people that the saints would judge guilty anyway. He may well be guilty of theft, though we don't actually see him do it other than the removal of money and things the Saints remove off their... I'm not sure what they would call them. Victims? Prey? Evil Doers? They remove these items seemingly to pay for things to support their cause (weapons, money clips, briefcases full of money, pagers phones etc).

The only exception to this is probably the Bartender, but this probably falls under my first point of a crime that is in a grey area for the Saints. Clearly the Bartender knew more about the Mafia then most low level members such as Rocco's two cohorts which are shocked he survived, they explain

He knew before we did!

So the Bartender may well be on the border of crossing into the Saints domain, but not quite, but the Saints let him get away with it due to their friendship

TLDR:

Rocco is not guilty of breaking the "codes of Behavior" the Saints follow

  • Good explanation, I buy it. And I think an important thing to mention is that the film purposefully tries to underscore the uncertain morality of the Saints' mission and philosophy (e.g. the news interviews at the end). In my opinion, from a purely logical lens, Rocco was just as evil as the people the Saints kill (especially the guys in the strip club). At the end of the day though, they made themselves judge, jury, and executioner. – DIMMSum Nov 29 at 17:38

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