Rami Malek originally auditioned for the role of Sweetie, but the role went to Nate Parker. However director David Lowery was so impressed with Malek's audition that he decided to give him the small role of Will later in the film. See more »
When Bob is shot while in his parked truck, he stumbles out, leaving the driver side door open. While he returns fire and confronts his assailant, he bumps into the door, causing it to close. After killing assailant and turning to get back into truck, the door is open again. See more »
I'm on the fence with this one. I don't hate it quite so much as to give it one star, as I'm tempted to. The direction and photography feel like a year 10 high school project. True beauty is best captured inconspicuously on film, whereas Saints is obsessed with getting the perfect shot of shivering fir trees and fields of barley coated in gold at sunset - there's no nuance or subtlety to it. It appears ham fisted when the director is obviously choosing his shots carefully, but when he lets intuition guide him he manages to capture some great moments on film.
Like one scene where Rooney Mara's character leaves church, and the local sheriff gives her a tip of a hat outside in a short tracking shot to the tune of a quirky soundtrack - it's simple and effective. Most viewers won't even remember that tiny twenty second scene and are probably too busy salivating over Casey Affleck's felt hats and film student mise en scene.
That being said, while the photography is desperate to impress, the way scenes play out is more effective. The director has some idea of how to generate tension, but at times he flops. The opening action sequence is one example; boring, flat, over quickly. Though perhaps what success there is is more to the credit of the screenwriter than the director, it's hard to say.
Flaws to one side, there are several small, tender moments that elevate Saints. For example, the interactions between Rooney Mara's character and her daughter, which are, at times, heartwarming, and very natural. Ben Foster too, feels well-casted and is careful not to turn his small town sheriff character into a walking cliché. In fact, he did so well you barely noticed him at all. He blends perfectly into the background. Casey Affleck seemed to recycle his character from "The Killer Inside Me," but his performance was tolerable.
So, all in all, Saints makes a lot of swings for few runs, succeeding just enough to be an honourable mention. I understand this is one of the director's first works, so for a debut it is certainly noteworthy. If he can learn to stop grovelling at the feet of critics he may improve in the future.
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