A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints

October 19, 2006 at 2:29 am | Posted in Movies | Leave a comment

I spent tonight watching A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints. Oscar season is pretty far away, but I wonder what kind of attention this film will get. This film is so moving, and the performances in it are incredible. If life were fair, a couple of these actors would definitely get nominations.

I know this comparison sounds silly, but the film reminded me of a harder-edged Stand By Me. It’s a story you’ve seen before; the young kid with daddy issues grows up in a rough neighborhood, touched with tragedy. But it’s so much more than that. It’s a true relationship movie, and the father and son scenes ring so true that it’s almost hard to watch.

No question, there are Oscar-caliber performances out of Dianne Wiest and Shia LaBoeuf. I’m realizing that not a lot of people have heard of Shia — he’s a former Disney Channel kid, who starred in Holes and had a supporting role in Constantine. Hopefully this will be a breakout role for him, because I honestly think he’s the next Tom Hanks. His eyes can tell you everything you need to know about a character in seconds. He’s incredible.

Chazz Palminteri will break your heart in this movie. So will Channing Tatum, who I’d never heard of, but was wonderful. All the actors had tough roles in this film, but perhaps he had it the toughest: making the audience care about an extremely troubled kid. In a way (and I’m not being facetious here), he’s like Ben Affleck’s character in Good Will Hunting. Remember, back when you took Affleck seriously, before the whole Bennifer debacle? Remember how good he was in that movie? Channing Tatum’s Antonio is like that — immediately charming, fiercely loyal, a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately, he’s also dangerously unpredictable and violent, but he, too, will break your heart.

Ain’t It Cool News has an interview with the writer/director here. It reveals important plot points, so go see the movie before you read it.

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