There are No Saints (2021)

May 25th, 2022
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir.: Alonso Pineda Ulloa | Wri: Paul Schrader |  Cast: Jose Maria Yazpik, Shannyn Sossamon, Paz Vega, Keidrich Sellati, Neal McDnough, Ron Pearlman, Tim Roth; USA/Mexico 2022, 104 min.

There Are No Saints has that same sober nihilism that has ruled Paul Schrader’s last few films, such as First Reformed but is directed here by Alonso Pineda Ulloa, best known for his TV fare. Nihilism is the right choice for this hard-hitting genre feature, a revenge blood bath with an all star cast of Brian Cox, Tim Roth and Paz Vega.

Schrader (who also the exec produced) is the archangel who has fallen from grace in mainstream Hollywood; but he still packs a heavy punch. Arthouse it may not be, but few can come up with a tour-de-force like this.

Sadistic hit-man Neto Niente ‘The Jesuit’ (Yazpik) escapes death row after taking the rap for a ghastly crime he did not commit. But when his wife Nadia (Paz) and son Julio (Sellati), are murdered, he finds himself implicated in their deaths. There are no Saints is a visually stylish thriller in the same mould as Brian De Palma’s Carlito’s Way. Niente is constantly on the move amid escalating violence in a world run by criminals who are all successful businessmen of one sort of the other. Schrader’s is as powerful as his writing skills: in many ways, There are No Saints is Seventies nostalgia in a modern world where ‘everything but violence is fake’. Not for the faint hearted, but Jim Thompson would have loved it. AS

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