Dito Montiel, Belladonna Productions, 2005. Starring Shia LaBeouf, Robert Downey Jr., Chazz Palminteri, Channing Tatum, Rosario Dawson and Dianne Wiest.
Genre: Drama, Crime.
There is a certain part of your life when you realize that you need to either stay where you grew up or run like hell. How many of you chose the latter?
A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints is a coming of age drama, mostly set in the 1980's, about a man who goes back to where he grew up and we see flashbacks as to why he left in the first place. It is based on the book by Dito Montiel (the director) and his life growing up in the boroughs of NY.
This movie came out 6 years ago to critical acclaim at many of the film festivals around this country. Shia LaBeouf was relatively unknown at the time he fought for and got this roll. (Transformers wasn't made until 2007) He won several "Best breakout role" type awards. I can see why, now.
On the surface, A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints is a gritty portrayal of a boy realizing he needs to leave his friends and family in order to save himself. But it is also about redemption and understanding the consequences of those actions.
The movie ran a little slow for me at times and went a little overboard in trying to be "real", but all in all I enjoyed this film. I will admit I like it when a movie is set in the 80's and it isn't over stereotyped with dialogue, wardrobe and make-up of that time. I will also confess that I am a sucker for watching any Robert Downey Jr.'s performances - ever since Less Than Zero.
I found this on the Sundance Channel just last week. Check it out.
Favorite thing: Discovering that Channing Tatum is a pretty decent actor.
Least favorite: The end seemed a bit abrupt.
Possibility of a sequel? I don't think so.
Did the previews ruin it or show too much? I have to be honest: I don't recall ever seeing the preview for this one.
Length: 100 minutes
Review: 6 out of 10
A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints - DVD
A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints - Book
Videos on Demand