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The Lives of the Saints (2006)

Mr Karva runs a shady little empire in North London. We don't know exactly how he makes his money but we know it's probably not very nice. Mr Karva's stepson, Othello, has ambitions to take... See full summary »




1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mr. Karva
Sam MacLintock ...
The Child
Daon Broni ...
Father Daniel
James Cook ...
Twin Boy I
Jude Cook ...
Twin Boy II
Paddy Fletcher ...
Drunk / Michali
Stella Quilley ...
Renu Setna ...
Maqsood Senior
Maqsood Junior
Josh Cole ...


Mr Karva runs a shady little empire in North London. We don't know exactly how he makes his money but we know it's probably not very nice. Mr Karva's stepson, Othello, has ambitions to take the old man's place; and Othello's fainthearted friend, Emilio, has ambitions of his own. This delicate balance of power is upset when Roadrunner finds a strange, sickly-looking 10 year old boy in the park. All his life, Roadrunner has been on the move - but when he looks into the child's eyes, he finds he can finally stop running. It becomes clear that the child can grant each character their own taste of heaven - the 'perfect, rosy future of your dreams'. The child never talks but transforms the world around him, working on the desire in each character's heart, whatever it may be. Othello wins every bet he makes; Christella finds a new son to replace the baby she lost; Mr. Karva achieves his elusive orgasm and Father Daniel is finally able to express his own secret passions. But nothing ever ... Written by Dazed Film & TV

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, sexual content including images of an assault, violence, drug use and some strong language | See all certifications »


Official Sites:



Release Date:

26 January 2007 (UK)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


I See A Darkness
Written & Composed by Will Oldham
Published by Royal Stable Music (ASCAP)
Arranged by David Lindsay
Banjo & Guitar David Lindsay
Vocals Steve Simpson
Viola Bob Loveday
See more »

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User Reviews

Appearances can be deceptive
14 November 2006 | by See all my reviews

Local gangsters stumble across a foundling boy and believe that he can confer good luck on whoever "possesses" him. However, the presence of the foundling unearths various deep seated divisions between people and amplifies them, with startling and tragic consequences.

Othello, the stepson of small-scale villain Mr. Karva, wants to step out from his stepfather's shadow and claim his own destiny. He believes that, with a little success, he can jettison certain relationships and seek out new ones, which will be more suitable (in his eyes) to his new station in life. Othello's girlfriend is a local prostitute who specialises in hand relief. She lost her childhood innocence and now yearns for a better, cleaner life, with different values to those of the gangsters. Othello's sidekick, a callow youth who is always in Othello's wake, wants to prove himself in his own right. Mr. Karva is not really as hard as he portrays himself, but he is frightened that others will consider him weak, so he poses as a tough nut in order to gain respect. Stepfather and stepson are very small fish in a very small pond, but both think that they are sharks.

The action takes place in a relatively small decaying urban area. The film captures the character of the neighbourhood perfectly. Interior and exterior shots accurately depict the unwholesome, incestuous, stifling atmosphere of a closed inner city ethnic community, portraying very effectively a low level, low life, parochial localised gang and their contacts, making the film a contemporary example of British realism at its best. The casting is faultless, with the child who plays the foundling as the paradigm.

This film continues the rich heritage of mob films beginning with "Get Carter", followed by "The Long Good Friday", then "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels", "Snatch" and more recently "The 51st State". There is homage to "Reservoir Dogs", but this is not simply a reworking of the genre; it is more a blending of the earthy gangster movie with "The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser", "The Rocking Horse Winner" and "My Beautiful Launderette". It explores various enduring themes of human conduct including betrayal, guilt, kinship, lost chances, self delusion, ambition, greed, hatred and lost innocence.

Complex relationships are developed and examined. There are scenes of violence and of compassion. The climax is tense and taut. These are the mean and sometimes comical streets of London. Geoffrey Chaucer would be proud to include "The Lives of the Saints" as his final Canterbury Tale.

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