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Not only is this multi-award-winning drama seriously star-studded, Robert Downey Jr., Rosario Dawson, Channing Tatum, and Shia LaBeouf also deliver superb performances. With two Sundance Awards and many other nominations in its pocket, A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints is based on the eponymous memoir by author, director, and musician, Dito Montiel, who recalls his violent childhood on the mean streets of Queens in the 1980s (LaBeouf plays the young Dito), as he visits his ailing father after 15 years away in Los Angeles (Downey Jr. plays present-day Dito). It is also real-life Dito’s directorial debut, recalling the loose, improvisational style of 70s cinema a’la Scorcese. The powerful plot is told through flashbacks and fourth-wall bending monologues, while the eccentric directing style makes for a raw and immediate experience. The energy of this coming-of-age drama is off the charts!
Wow! Just wow. What a great movie, why haven’t I heard of this before?
It’s really a touching film that will reach even the most cynical and jaded of viewers. “Coming of age” movies can be pretty overly sentimental but this is a solid look at the author/screenwriter’s less than stellar life as a young man in the hard core streets of NYC in the low years of the early 80’s.
And what a cast! Everyone puts in a exemplary performance, cinematography is gritty and real. I don’t want to rave too long. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a movie that leaves you feeling like you e had an experience. This one was a real treat. Give yourself a little time to soak it on after the credits roll. You’ll need it.
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