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:: A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints.

Based on the true life story of writer/director Dito Montiel, this film delves into the world of 1980s New York where Dito (Robert Downey Jnr) grew up with his pals - his saints. After having left - not amicably - in his teens, he is summonsed to return, as an adult after a phone call from his mother, explaining that his father is ill.

The film explores the relationship the young Dito ( Shia Le Beouf) has with his rather overbearing, but loving father (Chazz Palminteri) and his posse - his saints - girlfriend Laurie (Melonie Diaz), Mike (Martin Compston), Giuseppe (Adam Scarimbolo) and Antonio (Channing Tatum). Queens Astoria provides the backdrop for these troubled teens who spend their time drinking and involved in petty crime. The ring leader being Antonio (Channing Tatum) who Dito feels bound to but also tries considerably to escape, especially after meeting the somewhat more demure Irish Mike.

The film looks at an array of relationships between lovers, family members and friends and the endurance and weakness each of the characters deal with. It was shot on a tight budget by first-time director Montiel, with this element adding a roughness, an edge to the feature.

Robert Downey Jnr, although briefly in the film, is brilliant as the grown-up Dito trying to rejuvenate his relationship with his stubborn father and also embrace a life he left so long ago. A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints is a thoughtful, challenging film pushing emotional buttons for anyone who has reminisced on youth - and that makes most of us.