Review: Saint John of Las Vegas DVD

STUDIO: Vivendi | DIRECTOR: Hue Rhodes | CAST: Steve Buscemi, Sarah Silverman, Romany Malco, Peter Dinklage, John Cho, Tim Blake Nelson, Emmanuelle Chriqui
RELEASE DATE: 7/13/2010 | PRICE: DVD $19.93
BONUSES: cast interviews
SPECS: R | 85 min. | Comedy | 1.85:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1 | no subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

The name Steve Buscemi (The Messenger) and phrase “independent film” evoke excitement from me when they are combined. Frankly, I think I’d enjoy watching Buscemi read a congressional roll call, but when you add the words “Las Vegas,” then definitely count me in.

In Saint John of Las Vegas, Buscemi plays John, an insurance agency drone and recovering gambling addict assigned to look into a suspicious accident claim near Las Vegas. He’s paired with a more experienced investigator (Romany Malco from Showtime’s Weeds), who’s controlling the purse strings and therefore calling the shots. John is having an office affair with the boss’ ex-lover (Sarah Silverman, Peep World) and has an active fantasy life of success not likely to be achieved.

Generally quirky and amusing, the movie has some surreal moments that border on the absurd, including what may be film history’s first wheelchair lap dance, courtesy of Emmanuelle Chriqui (HBO’s Entourage). When the rest of this movie’s story is lost to memory, these images will likely remain and summon laughter years down the road.

Picture quality on the DVD is adequate; Buscemi’s face is as ashen as ever, and the sun-drenched desert looks great. Some of the darker moments, however, exhibit color bleed that anyone spoiled by high-def transfers will find distracting.

Audio is clear, but hardly dynamic. The film has an eccentric score that’s perfectly suited to the story and characters.

The DVD’s only special features is a short compilation of interviews with the cast, minus Buscemi. But the actors we get have fun with it, and Malco at one point refers to the film’s headliner as “a prick.”

If you’re in the mood for something a little different, that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and has funny looking people behaving badly, check out this movie.

 

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About Gary

Gary Frisch has been contributing laserdisc, DVD and Blu-ray reviews to Video Business magazine, Home Theater Magazine, Home Theater Buyer’s Guide, Stereophile Guide to Home Theater and the DVD Guide for more than 14 years. He still has a collection of more than 40 laserdiscs, along with a working auto-reverse LD player, but thinks Blu-ray is da bomb and anxiously awaits the original Star Wars trilogy so he can buy it for the fifth time.