R 100min 2006
A coming of age drama about writer/director Dito Montiel’s youth, the film captures the mid-1980s in the toughest neighborhood of Astoria Queens. Dito (Robert Downey Jr.), called home after 15 years because his father (Chazz Palminteri) is ill, encounters old friends –the ones he lost, the ones he left behind, the ones he cannot help but remember. These are Dito’s “saints.” An honest account of a bittersweet return to a neighborhood where relationship can never be what they once were, Dito’s story is about coming to terms with a father’s rage and a father’s love.
“A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints” is a emotionally moving drama. It is based on the novel by, Dito Montiel, the writer and director, of the screenplay. This part meshed well with Robert Downey Jr. Much of the younger cast holds the strongest dramatic parts.
This is a strong emotional drama. It made me consider who would be my saints. I think even though the writer and director wrote the book, the book will have more emotional resonance than the movie. Now I want to find time to read the book. This is becoming a standard practice in Hollywood; make a movie from the pages of a classic book.
Robert Downey Jr. really meshed with this character. His history shade is character and it worked for this part. He shows that emotion all through his performance. You can he the pain of Dito Montiel in one of the deleted scene as he is directing the actors.
As the majority of “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints” takes place in the past much of the younger cast holds the drama that shape the older Dito. Shia LaBeouf and Channing Tatum give strong performances of two young men growing up in New York. The entire younger cast is more of an ensemble even though it is center around Dito. If you have not seen it, I think you should try it.
“A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints” has a commentary by the director and editor. There is an making of featurette and a few other featurettes. It has an alternate opening and ending scene, deleted scenes, cast auditions, and a theatrical trailer. The are movie previews for “Journey to the End of the Night”, “Wilderness”, “A Little Trip to Heaven”, and “The Proposition”.
I give it 4/5 Gs.