Monday, March 12, 2007

A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints

Dito Montiel has put together what can only be called a true piece of art with his film A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints. Full of powerful performances from a stellar cast, this coming of age story set in a sun drenched Queens circa 1986 zeros in on Dito and his gang of buddies. Robert Downey, Jr and Shia LaBeouf both take on the role of Dito at different times of his life, and draw you in with their reserved approach. But the stand out star is Channing Tatum who plays the hot head Antonio, a battered kid hell bent on protecting his buddy Dito at all costs.

If I have to compare this picture, I'd mesh Kids with Basketball Diaries. But the reason I would put this movie above them both is the style that Dito drenches this film in. Setting a movie in the 80's could have led to trouble with getting over the top with songs and costumes, but Dito underplays the whole thing and manages to make the film about the performances.

As a first time director, Dito is remarkably self assured taking the helm on his own autobiography and baring his wounds for all to see. This story is tough, gritty and incredibly moving, and for his efforts Dito was awarded both Director's Award (Dramatic) and Special Jury Prize (Dramatic) at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. It's a triumph, an independent movie that gives you an engrossing story, rich characters and incredible heart.


At 3:22 PM, Blogger Jord said...

Was this a book first?

At 7:18 PM, Blogger Scooter said...

yeah. it's a memior of sorts and the guy who lived the life and wrote the book is the first time director on this thing.


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