Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints (2006)

Director: Dito Montiel

Writer: Dito Montiel

Composer: Jonathan Elias

Starring: Dianne Wiest, Robert Downey Jr., Shia LaBeouf, Melonie Diaz, Laila Liliana Garro, Eleonore Hendricks, Adam Scarimbolo, Peter Anthony Tambakis, Channing Tatum, Chazz Palminteri, George DiCenzo, Rosario Dawson, Eric Roberts

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Queens, New York, 1986. Sometimes the only way forward, is back.

Plot: The movie is a coming-of-age drama about a boy growing up in Astoria, N.Y., during the 1980s. As his friends end up dead, on drugs or in prison, he comes to believe he has been saved from their fate by various so-called saints.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

I hadn't seen so much as a trailer for this and I had no idea what to expect.  It's pretty bleak and at times I was unsure of what it was trying to say because the film touches on lots of experiences these kids had and then flashes forward to show what became of them, focusing on Dito (RDJ & LaBeouf), the cat that wrote and directed this based on his life growing up in NYC.  Damn, that's a long ass sentence.  It also feels like a pastiche of different movies like GOODFELLAS (1990) and BOOGIE NIGHTS (1997).  The performances are strong and it's well shot but I never connected with any of the characters enough to even passivly care about them.  This might be just a me thing.  Not that it matters but I didn't grow up in a big city nor in an environment like that or situations similar.  It's not necessary that I share anything with a character to like him/her but I couldn't help but wonder if it would've helped in this case.  The First Look DVD has a nice anamorphic widescreen print with a few extras including a commentary track with the director and editor, a 20 minute making of featurette, an alternate opening and ending, 11 deleted scenes with optional commentary from the director, the rooftop scene as acted by the director and Helen Davis from a workshop at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival (with optional director's commentary), three trailers for the film, a two minute interview with the director's father, Monty, Diana Carcamo's audition tape for the role of Young Laurie and trailers for 4 other films.

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