It got panned by the critics. Val Kilmer’s acting was indulgent at times. It was somewhat cliché. What was up with those knee-high socks that Elizabeth Shue’s character wore throughout the movie? Those are some of the things that come to mind when I think of “The Saint” (1997). But it struck a chord with me, from the first time I saw it, and I like it even after all these years.
I think it evokes the feel of that time in Eastern Europe very well. I visited Romania in December 1998, for the first time since I’d left in 1991. The movie and the impressions from my trip match. It was cold, snowy, in many ways dreary, there was poverty all around, but still somehow enchanting, inspiring, in a way that made you feel you could do almost anything, as if the slate had been wiped clean and people were free to start things over.
Simon Templar, the character played by Val Kilmer in the movie, has a long heritage that started in books in 1928. The character itself has been played in movies and on TV by several other actors, Roger Moore being one of the more notable ones. I remember watching Moore in the Saint series as a child growing up in Romania. The films were gripping and I loved seeing a modern-day Robin Hood escape from dangerous situations, just as I enjoyed seeing Kilmer’s character escape from similar situations in this latest installment.
Given the character’s long history, Kilmer had some big shoes to fill in this movie. For example, I thought there were too many close-ups of him. Perhaps the director was trying to establish character, and the close-ups were meant to give us an insight into what S.T. was thinking, but at times, I could see the actor hamming it up behind a thinner-than-usual mask. Still, I always thought Kilmer was charismatic and I don’t begrudge him the less than stellar acting here. Every actor goes through a ham stage in his or her career — most notably of all, the famous John Barrymore, who quite possibly illustrated the very phrase in some of his later film roles.
The film’s tech was amazing for its time. Simon Templar’s phone in the movie — that Nokia phone was something else. It blew me away. I think it could do everything modern phones could do — at slower speeds, naturally — except play movies. I learned it was a Nokia 9000 Communicator, thanks to the Saint.org website. And to think, all of that technology was available in 1997! Nokia was very happy about the phone’s appearance in the movie and even issued a press release about it that same year.
All in all, “The Saint” is one of a handful of movies in my library that I’ve watched multiple times, and will probably watch again. I like it.
6 thoughts on “I like "The Saint"”
Not many movies where russia looked pleasant 🙂 This is indeed a great great movie. Technology was a new bird at the time and the pace of the movie was rocking. You can watch it no matter how many times and still enjoy.
I also love this movie…I guess you could call it a guilty pleasure. But it was a fun spy type thriller, and I loved the technology displayed in the movie. Great soundtrack too…
Wow, and I thought I was alone in being a lover of the The Saint. In addition to all the things mentioned above, the movie evokes a sense of adventurous independence. Templar makes his way in a dangerous world by out smarting his foes while maintianing his 90’s style. Love the music as well.
Me too man, but no one can find this piece of technologie anymore… Instead of this i used to have 9110i (dead), next was 9500 (sell it) and now E90… 🙂 All this thanks to The Saint… 🙂
I loved “The Saint” since the first time I saw it at the theater. It has been my all-time favorite movie ever since. I can watch it over and over again. I want to by a Nokia Communicator 9000 just to have one. Kinda fuuny, because I always wanted one since the day I first saw the film.
Fort Worth, TX. USA
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