Strong themes, Strong sexual references, Frequent coarse language
Queens, New York, 1986. Sometimes the only way forward, is back
A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints is a powerful coming of age story that has been aptly compared to Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets. Based on his bestselling memoirs, first time writer/director Dito Montiel takes us through his childhood growing up on the streets of New York.
This urban drama opens with the adult Dito (Robert Downey Jnr), now a successful writer, receiving a call from his mother (Dianne Wiest) to say that his father (Chazz Palminteri) is dying. Reluctantly, Dito returns to the life he abandoned years ago and must face up to his harrowing past. Told in flashback, we are thrust into the gritty, dirty borough of Astoria, Queens during the '70s. Young Dito (Shia LaBeouf) is a restless teen who spends most of his time hanging out with his friends, the "saints" referred to in the title. There's Dito's girl Laurie (Melonie Diaz); his oversized, abused and volatile best friend Antonio (Channing Tatum); Mike O'Shea (Martin Compston), a Scottish wannabe Sex Pistol; and finally the self-destructive mescaline fiend Giuseppe (Adam Scarimbolo).
Taking centre stage, Shia LaBeouf delivers an astounding portrayal full of emotion and angst. The ensemble cast all work exceptionally well together and the chemistry between the performers is the driving force of the film.
The cracking '70s soundtrack transports us back in time and the raw cinematography of Eric Gautier (The Motorcycle Diaries) compliments the music and oozes stylish authenticity.
An affecting and emotionally complex tale tackling the loss of love, family and innocence, A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints is a poignant, heart breaking and inspirational work.
Watch A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints trailer
Released to Retail July 18 2007