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May 27, 2024
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Saint Michael of the City: Steel and Salvation in the City of Rust

Saint Michael of the City Steel and Salvation in the City of Rust
Photo Courtesy: Adam Ratcliffe, Saint Michael of the City

Forget the glitz, forget the car chases – Saint Michael of the City ain’t your typical Hollywood crime drama. This independent flick, courtesy of writer/director Jeff Stewart, throws you headfirst into the grimy underbelly of a forgotten town. It’s a place where shadows stretch long, secrets fester, and redemption feels like a distant dream.

Our protagonist, Michael (played with a simmering intensity by Adam Ratcliffe), walks back into this urban wasteland after a seven-year absence. Scars – both physical and emotional – etch his face, hinting at a past best left buried. The script, co-penned by Stewart and Kevin Interdonato, unfolds like a slow burn, drip-feeding us details through stolen glances and the desolate landscape itself. Michael’s hometown has become a character, its crumbling buildings and deserted streets mirroring the emptiness he carries within.

Think James Gray’s neo-noir mastery, but with a dash of blue-collar grit. Stewart’s camera lingers on weary faces, capturing the film’s melancholic heart. The slow-motion sequences are particularly striking, emphasizing the weight of every decision Michael makes. Here, violence isn’t glorified; it’s raw, brutal, and a constant reminder of the consequences of a life lived on the edge.

The story takes a familiar turn when Michael gets sucked back into the criminal underworld, lured in by the dangerously smooth Cuz (a performance by Kevin Interdonato that’s equal parts charm and menace). It’s a classic tug-of-war – the yearning for a clean slate versus the shackles of a shady past. But here’s where Saint Michael of the City elevates itself.

Instead of falling into predictable gangster movie tropes, the film delves deeper. The action sequences pack a punch, but they’re never gratuitous. The focus remains laser-sharp on the characters, particularly Michael’s internal battle. Ratcliffe delivers a performance that’ll leave you speechless. His portrayal of Michael is a masterclass in quiet vulnerability beneath a hardened shell. There’s a flicker of hope behind his guarded eyes, making his choices all the more gut-wrenching.

Interdonato is a worthy antagonist, playing Cuz with a swagger that barely masks a simmering desperation. But the supporting cast shines just as brightly. Eva Palomo brings quiet strength to Michael’s childhood sweetheart.

Now, let’s talk about some nitpicks. The pacing can be uneven at times, with a few scenes dragging on longer than necessary. And certain plot points, especially those involving the detective (a decent performance by Daniel Turner) feel half-baked.

That said, these are minor blips in an otherwise powerful film. Saint Michael of the City is a potent mix of neo-noir grit and introspective drama. It’s a film that stays with you long after the credits roll, forcing you to confront the choices you make and the burdens you carry.

So, if you’re looking for a popcorn flick full of explosions, this ain’t it. Saint Michael of the City demands your attention, rewarding you with raw emotion and unforgettable characters. This independent gem deserves a place on your must-watch list, especially if you dig character-driven crime dramas with a touch of neo-noir swagger.  You can watch it on Amazon Prime here

Published by: Holy Minoza

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