Saint John of Las Vegas DVD
Loosely based on the story Dante’s Inferno, Saint John of Las Vegas follows the story of a recovering gambler named John. To even tie it in more, John’s last name is Alegheri just like Dante’s. Comparisons from there can vary based on what interpretations of levels of hell one looks at. Saint John of Las Vegas is an indie film that hit the festivals before making its way to DVD.
Steve Buscemi headlines here as John. He is more known as a supporting actor but if you look at his projects, he actually took the lead in quite a few indie films. Not all actors can take their acting game to the next level from supporting to lead. I’ve watched a couple of Buscemi’s lead films and to be honest i’m not convinced he can carry a film by himself just yet. In Saint John of Las Vegas he does his best and almost pulls it off.
The film starts with John inside a gas station toying with the notion of getting $1,000 worth of lottery tickets. Actually the film somewhat ends with that very scene. That’s not giving anything away because the story is narrated by John and what led him there to begin with through a flashback. We see not only what brought him to that moment but what made him go the path he has due to his addiction that cost him normalcy in his life.
Buscemi shows great range as he plays off different supporting actors differently. Whether it’s off his boss (Peter Dinklage) where he is an insurance claims adjuster, off the women(Sarah Silverman) he likes in the cubicle next to him, or off the partner (Romany Malco) he is assigned to. Other than Buscemi, I didn’t feel the rest of the cast showed their strengths as actors and kind of gave blah performances. To be fair it is not entirely their faults as the script was weak. There was one exception and that was to the unrecognizable John Cho (Harold & Kumar movies). He played a carnival human torch with an ironic want of a cigarette. The more I think about the scene, the more I have to laugh at it. Easily the highlight of the film to me.
Overall the film didn’t bring me in like I hoped to with the casting and wasn’t impressed with the directing. Not a terrible film, but not a good one either.