Thursday, May 26, 2022

Major violence, small rewards -- and no saints


There Are No Saints wrapped in 2013 and evidently has taken its time finding a release date. Paul Schrader, who wrote the screenplay, reportedly planned to direct the movie which wound up in the hands of director Alfonso Pineda Ulloa. Schrader's involvement creates hope and expectation. Sin, violence, and the search for redemption ripple through Schrader’s work. Remember he wrote Taxi Driver and other movies for Martin Scorsese. Some of Schrader's concerns turn up No Saints, an over-the-top, overly violent story about a newly released convict (Jose Maria Yazpik) with scores to settle. Yazpik's character is known as "the Jesuit." Why? Like Jesuits during the Inquisition, Yazpik's Neto Niente is adept at torture.  Niente is drawn back into the criminal world when his son (Keidrich Sellati) is kidnapped and hauled off to Mexico at the behest of a major mobster. The supporting cast includes Tim Roth, as Niente's attorney, Paz Vega as Niente's ex-wife, and Shannyn Sossamon as a woman who accompanies Niente when his search extends into Mexico. Stoic and scary, Yazpik gives a no-nonsense performance and the rest of the cast, notably Neal McDonough as a mid-level drug dealer, and Ron Perlman, as the character pulling the plot strings, hit the right notes. There Are No Saints pulls no punches but its ending includes a harrowing (sickening would be another word for it) twist. To summarize: There Are No Saints may be too eager to play the down-and-dirty game and too thematically slim to find cinematic redemption. If you're looking for something recent by Schrader, try last year's Card Counter.

No comments: