When seasoned comedian George Simmons learns of his terminal, inoperable health condition, his desire to form a genuine friendship cause him to take a relatively green performer under his wing as his opening act.
The Rizzos, a family who doesn't share their habits, aspirations, and careers with one another, find their delicate web of lies disturbed by the arrival of a young ex-con (Strait) brought ... See full summary »
Raymond De Felitta
John (Steve Buscemi), a recovering gambler, is sent back to Las Vegas by his employer to research insurance fraud. Along the way he must face junkyard thugs, a crippled stripper and try to maintain a relationship with his less-than-stable girlfriend (Sarah Silverman).
This story is somehow based on the writings of Dante Aligheri. I don't see it. I freely admit by knowledge of "Inferno" and "Paradiso" is not on the level it could be, but this had to be a very loose interpretation to say the least. However, regardless of the source material, the finished product is a gem that sadly did not get the full attention it deserved. This should have been a major theatrical release and success rather than a film festival darling.
Sure, it has that "independent" feel to it, like a darker "Garden State"... but if people like Wes Anderson can make it big off of the indie film feeling, why not this film? Steve Buscemi has a huge cult following, as does Sarah Silverman. Buscemi was what attracted me to this film -- he has never failed to disappoint me in any of his roles from "Big Lebowski" to "Ghost World" to "Reservoir Dogs". One of the biggest flaws another indie film, "Floundering", made was using Buscemi too little.
The directing is tight, the story is tight... the word "tight" is really the way to describe this film. The pace keeps steady, with never a dull moment despite not really being anything close to an action film. John is a perfect everyman inserted into odd situations (did I mention the nudists?) so we can both sympathize with him, yet enjoy that he has quirks we wouldn't, and weaknesses we do not. It is as though watching our best friend on an adventure.
If you missed this one on the festival circuit (and let's be frank, most of us do not have the luxury of attending them), please do yourself a favor and rent this film, or perhaps even purchase it. I think it's the kind of film that will have a strong word-of-mouth fan base, and it would be in your best interest to discover it before all your friends have first. So many films slip under the radar... don't let "Saint John of Las Vegas" be one of them.
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