Salvation Films // 2007 // 72 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Tom Becker // April 24th, 2009
Dita Von Teese...in her first feature film!
It the above charge gets you all charged, then have I got a film for you. Saint Franics is little more than the celebrated performance artist and former Mrs. Marilyn Manson striking poses, showing off her hourglass figure, and chatting on her cell phone. Yeah, there's a plot and some other characters, but they don't make much of an impression. For that matter, neither does Von Teese, but at least a few people have heard of her.
Saint Francis tells the tale of the children of a wealthy televangelist (Zalman King, sometimes-actor who as a writer gave us Nine 1/2 Weeks, Wild Orchid, and Red Shoe Diaries). Baby Sid (Casey Anderson), the youngest, is a troubled drug dealer. Soul (Von Teese), the middle child, is a troubled sex worker. Francis (Charles Koutris), the eldest, is just troubled, with sex and drugs being significant parts of these troubles. People do lots of drugs, there are some sex scenes, and there's possibly a subplot about alien abductions.
Actually, there's "possibly" a bunch of stuff going on, but Saint Francis is one of those precious and pretentious film school-style "indies" (as opposed to the fun and creative independent films you stumble across every now and again). Rather than a cohesive narrative, we get a hodgepodge of scenes that are probably supposed to add up to something clever or profound but just seem randomly thrown together. It's a "night in the life of" the uninteresting (and woodenly acted) preacher's kids, who just seem to have too much time on their hands. Also tossed in are some arbitrary soft-core porn bits, a few killings, and a droning narrator who tells us things we can see for ourselves but refuses to answer the big question -- why the hell are we watching this thing?
The focus here is not Von Teese's Soul, but the hopelessly drug addicted and misanthropic Francis. Francis rambles on the soundtrack about nothing in particular, snorts dozens of lives of cocaine, and watches two constantly repeating TV shows, one about alien abductions, the other his father's God-for-pay shtick. There's a suggestion that the whole thing might be a dream Francis is having during an operation. If so, I'd suggest he fire his anesthesiologist and look into better drugs. Even with sex, aliens, and killings, Saint Francis is dull as day-old toast. For a film that runs a relatively brief 72 minutes, this all feels padded and drawn out. There is really nothing to see here.
Saint Francis is very well shot, particularly for the budget. The disc looks and sounds fine for what it is. Extras include some unnecessarily extended scenes, trailers, and a music video.
Saint Francis strains so hard to be hip that it ends up being quaint. Sex, drugs, and a corrupt and corrupting televangelist. Paging 1983.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Salvation Films
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital Stereo (English)
Running Time: 72 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Extended Scenes
* Music Video
* Official Site