A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints (2006)

In the end – just like I said – I left everything, and everyone. But no one, no one has ever left me.

— Dito

I heard about Dito Montiel’s A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints from the /Filmcast a couple of months ago. I tried to find this movie. I was lucky that it was playing on IFC last night. The hosts of the podcast were praising the movie about the gritty coming-of-age story. After watching the movie, I felt that something missing in the plot.

The movie dramatizes Dito Montiel’s youth in the summer of 1986 where he left home for years. It wasn’t her publishes his memoir of the same name in 2005 that he gets a phone call from his mother, Flori (Dianne Weist) telling Dito played by Robert Downey, Jr that his father, Monty (Chazz Palminteri) has falling ill. Monty refuses to go to hospital. Flori asks Dito to come back and take care of him.

The storyline swaps from 2005 back to 1986 where young Dito (Shia LaBeouf) is hanging out with his troublemaker friends, the roughneck Antonio (Channing Tatum), Antonio’s odd brother, Giuseppe (Adam Scarimbolo) and pre-pubescent Nerf (Peter Tambakis). It is an unspoken tradition that the Italians do not get along with the Puerto Ricans. There is a graffiti artist named “The Reaper” (Michael Rivera) that is tagging the neighborhood. The boys want to get to the bottom of who is defacing their neighborhood.

A new kid from Scotland, Mike O’Shea (Martin Compston) befriends Dito, but their budding friendship threatens to their guys apart.

Meanwhile, older Dito comes back to Astoria after twenty years to find that things have changed. Friends moved away, some have died; some are stuck there like Nerf (Scott Nichael Campbell) or Dito’s old girlfriend, Laurie (Rosario Dawson). Dito is reluctant to go back to his family’s house after such a long absence. He wonders if it was a mistake to come back at all.

The effective parts of the movie were at the end of the movie when Laurie confronts Dito about fulfilling his obligations to his father, and the pivotal point that Dito leaves Astoria were excellent. The rest of the movie was choppy with its shoddy editing. Parts of story were not explained. Was Giuseppe autistic? Why does Antonio’s dad beat him, not Giuseppe?

Judgment: A good movie is in here somewhere. You have to dig through a lot of muck to get to it.

Rating: ***


About Branden

Branden: I am just your average movie nut that reviews films. Gives his take on pop culture and Hollywood happenings. Dreams to have his own thriving website and make a living doing what he is passionate about.

Posted on January 1, 2010, in 2006, Crime, Drama, Independent and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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