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A guide to recognizing your saints - Robert Downey Jr, Rosario Dawson, Shia LaBeouf, Dito Montiel

Threat advisory: Elevated - Significant risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

Sometimes the only way to move forward is to go back.

A successful writer living in Los Angeles, Dito (Robert Downey Jr) is summoned home to Astoria after a 15-year absence by his mother (Dianne Wiest) when his father (Chazz Palminteri) becomes seriously ill. His father never forgave Dito for leaving home and thus the two have a very strained relationship. Memories of his youth come flooding back as Dito (played as a teenager by Shia LaBeouf) revisits the old neighbourhood, encountering the few childhood friends (the "saints" of the film and memoir's title) who aren't in prison or dead. As Dito finds himself whisked back into the childhood events that shaped him, we meet an unforgettable cast of characters living in the thick of a sweltering 1986 Queens summer.

These "saints" include Laurie (Melonie Diaz), Dito's childhood sweetheart; Mike O'Shea (Martin Compston), a transplanted Scot with an Irish name who dreams of becoming a punk rock musician; Giuseppe (Adam Scarimbolo), a reckless, destructive and possibly insane member of Dito's street posse; and the unforgettable Antonio (Channing Tatum), Dito's cocky and volatile best friend grappling with an abusive father. As Dito comes to terms with the ghosts of his past, he must fight to rebuild a relationship with his emotionally distant father.

An honest, unflinching account of a bitter-sweet return to a neighbourhood where relationships can never be what they once were, A guide to recognizing your saints is about coming to terms with misplaced love, reconciling with family, and embracing the ghosts of your past. It's a mesmerizing début from a truly gifted new director.

Theatrical propaganda posters

A guide to recognizing your saints theatrical one sheet imageA guide to recognizing your saints theatrical one sheet image

Target demographic movie keyword propaganda

  • Film coming-of-age crime drama biography Queens New York childhood youth gang prison violence graffiti

Persons of interest

  • Robert Downey Jr .... Dito
  • Rosario Dawson .... Laurie
  • Shia LaBeouf .... Young Dito
  • Chazz Palminteri .... Monty
  • Dianne Wiest .... Flori
  • Channing Tatum .... Antonio
  • Eric Roberts .... Older Antonio
  • Kyle Devon Benitez .... Joey
  • Scott Michael Campbell .... Nerf
  • Federico Castelluccio .... Antonio's Father
  • Martin Compston .... Mike O'Shea
  • Anthony DeSando .... Frank
  • Melonie Diaz .... Young Laurie
  • Julia Garro .... Diane Honeyman
  • Eleonore Hendricks .... Jenny
  • Olga Merediz .... Aunt Mary
  • Michael Rivera .... Reaper
  • Adam Scarimbolo .... Giuseppe
  • Peter Anthony Tambakis .... Young Nerf
  • E Austin Valentine .... Very young Dito
  • Dito Montiel .... Screenwriter
  • Dito Montiel .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

There's something about A guide to recognizing your saints that drags. Even though there's an escalating series of violent events that you know will end badly, it never picks up enough speed to get off the ground. That's the trouble with real life: most of it is just passing time waiting for something interesting to happen - which is why reality TV needs a narrator.

Also, thank the goddess that you weren't born in a shit-hole like Queens and that everyone you know doesn't talk without bothering to hear what you said. If you want to see a family who can't communicate, the Montiels are it.

I didn't much like A guide to recognizing your saints but I can see why it won a bunch of high-powered awards as the acting is really good (especially from Dianne Wiest and the teenage cast). I wasn't impressed with some of Dito Montiel's cinematographic choices as this is a dramatic film, not an artistic one. The zooms and tilts and cuts are more appropriate to a Memento than A guide to recognizing your saints.

The coming-of-age crime drama movie A guide to recognizing your saints is directed by Dito Montiel and stars Robert Downey Jr, Rosario Dawson, Shia LaBeouf.

Media intelligence (DVD)

  • Audio: Dolby Stereo 2.0
  • Languages: English
  • Picture: Widescreen 1.77:1
  • Special features:
    • Commentaries: Dito Montiel
    • Deleted scenes
    • Featurettes:
      • Alternate endings
      • B-roll clip
    • Interviews: Robert Downey Jr, Rosario Dawson, Dito Montiel, Shia La Beouf & Melonie Diaz, Channing Tatum, Trudie Slyler
    • Trailers: Theatrical

Government security censorship classification

MA 15+ (Strong themes, strong sexual references, frequent coarse language)

Surveillance time

98 minutes (1:38 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 16 November 2006
DVD rental: 21 March 2007
DVD retail: 21 March 2007
DVD retail: 18 July 2007

Cinema surveillance images

A guide to recognizing your saints movie imageA guide to recognizing your saints movie imageA guide to recognizing your saints movie imageA guide to recognizing your saints movie imageA guide to recognizing your saints movie imageA guide to recognizing your saints movie imageA guide to recognizing your saints movie imageA guide to recognizing your saints movie imageA guide to recognizing your saints movie image

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