As 36-year-old Dito (Robert Downey Jr., Good Night, and Good Luck) looks back at his childhood with Laurie (Rosario Dawson, Sin City) we are whisked off to the sweltering New York City summer of 1986. Nestled precariously between Brooklyn, The Bronx and Manhattan is the NYC borough of Queens. For 16-year-old Dito (Shia LaBeouf, Transformers), this is his Queens - battlefield, playground, school and more. But to a kid like Dito, poised on the brink of manhood, a long hot summer can change a lot. With the murder of a rival gang member and a violent turf-war on the horizon, staring in Queens will soon see him either dead or in prison and the draw of the wider world across the bridge becomes impossible to ignore. Reminiscent of Sleepers and A Bronx Tale, A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints is a blisteringly powerful, sexy, violent and touching portrayal of 1980s New York that will leave you gasping for breath.
Dull, contrived and messy.
- A Guide to Recognising Your Saints review by Shatner's Bassoon
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A Guide To Recognising Your Saints is Dito Montiel's autobiographical coming of age drama based in Queens, New York. After finding out his estranged father is seriously ill he returns to the home he left twenty years earlier. The story cuts back and forth from present to past, telling the story of a teenage boy and his troublesome youth in the rough backstreets of 80's New York and his desperation to escape to California. And in the present time Dito's struggle to confront both his gritty past and those he left behind. Although the acting in this film is universally good, the direction and story are both overindulgent and muddled. Writer and director Montiel's showy art house cinematic techniques and improvised style dialogue does nothing to progress the storyline and ultimately transforms what should have been a gritty little coming of age story into a dull, contrived and messy experience. All in all, 'A Guide To Recognising Your Saints' just repeats the same old cliched 'growing up on the tough streets of New York' story that you've seen a dozen times before, and not only that, it does it badly.