Feature

A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints

A teenage troublemaker aspires to get out of Queens.

The story of writer-director Dito Montiel's life won an award for best ensemble acting at this year's Sundance festival, said A.O. Scott in The New York Times. It's easy to see why. The cast of this film is so uniformly brilliant, so brimming with guts and energy, that every actor deserves an Oscar. Up-and-comer Shia LaBeouf shares the role of Dito with Robert Downey Jr., 'œand the casting of these two itchy, inventive actors in a single role is nothing short of revelatory.' Channing Tatum is terrific as the Queens, N.Y., neighborhood tough who goes home to an abusive dad, Dianne Wiest is excellent as usual as Dito's estranged mother. If only Montiel knew how to direct a movie, said Glenn Kenny in Premiere. Most of the action takes place in one long flashback, chopped up into weird, abrupt scenes and muddled with uncomfortable film school clichés. 'œFor just about every bit that throbs convincingly with the pain of an open wound or the thrill of a newfound love, there's some arty or self-serving flourish.' But that's what makes this movie feel so authentic, said Scott Foundas in the LA Weekly. Montiel has never made a movie before, and at some points it seems as if he's never even seen one. 'œPerhaps for that very reason, it's forceful and alive and spilling over with crazy poetry.'

Rating: R

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