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The Lives of the Saints (2006) Online

The Lives of the Saints (2006) Online
Original Title :
The Lives of the Saints
Genre :
Movie / Comedy / Drama
Year :
Directror :
Chris Cottam,Rankin
Cast :
James Cosmo,David Leon,Emma Pierson
Writer :
Tony Grisoni
Type :
Rating :
The Lives of the Saints (2006) Online

Mr Karva runs a shady little empire in North London. We don't know exactly how he makes his money but we know it's probably not very nice. Mr Karva's stepson, Othello, has ambitions to take the old man's place; and Othello's fainthearted friend, Emilio, has ambitions of his own. This delicate balance of power is upset when Roadrunner finds a strange, sickly-looking 10 year old boy in the park. All his life, Roadrunner has been on the move - but when he looks into the child's eyes, he finds he can finally stop running. It becomes clear that the child can grant each character their own taste of heaven - the 'perfect, rosy future of your dreams'. The child never talks but transforms the world around him, working on the desire in each character's heart, whatever it may be. Othello wins every bet he makes; Christella finds a new son to replace the baby she lost; Mr. Karva achieves his elusive orgasm and Father Daniel is finally able to express his own secret passions. But nothing ever ... {locallinks-homepage}
Cast overview, first billed only:
James Cosmo James Cosmo - Mr. Karva
David Leon David Leon - Othello
Emma Pierson Emma Pierson - Tina
Bronson Webb Bronson Webb - Emilio
Sam MacLintock Sam MacLintock - The Child
Daon Broni Daon Broni - Roadrunner
Gillian Kearney Gillian Kearney - Christella
Marc Warren Marc Warren - Father Daniel
James Cook James Cook - Twin Boy I
Jude Cook Jude Cook - Twin Boy II
Paddy Fletcher Paddy Fletcher - Drunk / Michali
Stella Quilley Stella Quilley - Granny
Renu Setna Renu Setna - Maqsood Senior
Raj Ghatak Raj Ghatak - Maqsood Junior
Josh Cole Josh Cole - Bookie

User reviews



Don't be fooled by the title of this film - there are far more sinners than saints in it. What happens when you go out for a jog and stumble across a bundle of humanity, thinking at first that it is a drunkard in the gutter, but you then discover that it is a small, angelic looking child? Not only are you surprised by this find, but what subsequently happens when this little beautiful boy appears to have supernatural powers and can change your life according to your will? The possibilities are endless and this film explores some of the enduring themes which have haunted and perplexed mankind since the beginning.

If you like the ancient urban myth of "The Monkey's Paw" you will find much of interest in "The Lives". Be prepared to be taken on a series of personal and emotional journeys, with unexpected results.

Next time you wish for something, be careful. Be very careful indeed.


The Lives of the Saints starts off with an atmospheric vision of London as a bustling city of busy, quaint streets and sunshine. I was hoping it would maintain this atmosphere, but it gets bogged down in a story that goes pretty much nowhere.

Othello works for big, fat Mr. Karva, his crime-boss step-dad (at least I think that is what he is supposed to be because it's never really defined, but he does drop kittens into deep fat friers, so trust me, he's a prick) doing scrappy little errands while his skanky girlfriend gives daddy hand-jobs. One of his colleagues is Runner, a black dude who is always dashing from A to B. Until the day he comes across almost mute homeless child who grants him his wish of being able to stop running. Runner dumps the lost boy in Othello's flat, where he promptly starts granting more wishes. Keen to have some of his own desires fulfilled, Karva has the boy kidnapped. But he isn't sure of what would really bring him happiness. Is it the innocence of being a child again or is it another hand-job? Either way, I don't want to see the little boy grant him the second.

It just takes ages to get going and there are loads of repetitive scenes. The ending tries to be shocking but since there's hardly any back-story on investment in any of these characters it only serves as a release for the bored audience.

Writer Tony Grisoni, a favourite of Terry Gilliam, tries to blend in some kind of religious allegory which ends up being pretentious as all hell, ironically. If he gave us something more accessible or at least had better explanations for the characters suddenly acting all weird then it would have been a more enjoyable film. As it is, we are introduced to a bunch of annoying loudmouths who then miraculously seem to develop intelligence when confronted by the mysterious boy. Who's origins are never revealed. That's just plain irritating!

Aside from sporadic moments of atmosphere and a moody score, this film has little to recommend.


Without question, the worst film I've seen for a long while. I endured to the end because surely there must be something here, but no. The plot, when not dealing in clichés, rambles to the point of non-existence; dialogue that is supposed to be street is simply hackneyed; characters never develop beyond sketches; set-pieces are clichéd. Worse, considering its co-director, the photography is only so-so.

Comments elsewhere that elevate this alongside Get Carter, Long Good Friday or Kaspar Hauser are way way off the mark; Lives of the Saints lacks their innovation let alone their depth and shading. In short, their craft. A ruthless editor could probably trim it down to a decent 30-minute short, but as it stands it's a 6th form film project realised on a million-pound scale; rambling and bloated with its own pretensions. That it received funding (surely only because of Rankin's name) while other small films struggle for cash is depressing for the British film industry.


Just saw this film today, it's interesting. Obviously not to everyone's taste (as witnessed up the negative reviews on this page) but i don't think it's as bad as people make out.

the story was thought provoking, a little bit of a tale on morality, but with a few bits of comedy, some graphic violence, some social commentary. a little bit of something for everyone.

and thankfully assumes it's audience is smart enough to make up their own minds without needing to spell out and explain everything.

lots has been made of this being Rankin's debut as a directory, i think he's done a good job. i was a little concerned he'd have filled the movie with artsy scene settings and camera-work, but while there are a couple of sections like that, they've been used appropriately for effect, without distracting you from the rest of the film

the actors did a fine job too - i wasn't looking to pick hole in their performances, but i didn't notice any either. most of the cast were new to me, although Emma Pierson is always brilliant in anything she does, and Marc Warren was very good as the priest with a secret.


Local gangsters stumble across a foundling boy and believe that he can confer good luck on whoever "possesses" him. However, the presence of the foundling unearths various deep seated divisions between people and amplifies them, with startling and tragic consequences.

Othello, the stepson of small-scale villain Mr. Karva, wants to step out from his stepfather's shadow and claim his own destiny. He believes that, with a little success, he can jettison certain relationships and seek out new ones, which will be more suitable (in his eyes) to his new station in life. Othello's girlfriend is a local prostitute who specialises in hand relief. She lost her childhood innocence and now yearns for a better, cleaner life, with different values to those of the gangsters. Othello's sidekick, a callow youth who is always in Othello's wake, wants to prove himself in his own right. Mr. Karva is not really as hard as he portrays himself, but he is frightened that others will consider him weak, so he poses as a tough nut in order to gain respect. Stepfather and stepson are very small fish in a very small pond, but both think that they are sharks.

The action takes place in a relatively small decaying urban area. The film captures the character of the neighbourhood perfectly. Interior and exterior shots accurately depict the unwholesome, incestuous, stifling atmosphere of a closed inner city ethnic community, portraying very effectively a low level, low life, parochial localised gang and their contacts, making the film a contemporary example of British realism at its best. The casting is faultless, with the child who plays the foundling as the paradigm.

This film continues the rich heritage of mob films beginning with "Get Carter", followed by "The Long Good Friday", then "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels", "Snatch" and more recently "The 51st State". There is homage to "Reservoir Dogs", but this is not simply a reworking of the genre; it is more a blending of the earthy gangster movie with "The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser", "The Rocking Horse Winner" and "My Beautiful Launderette". It explores various enduring themes of human conduct including betrayal, guilt, kinship, lost chances, self delusion, ambition, greed, hatred and lost innocence.

Complex relationships are developed and examined. There are scenes of violence and of compassion. The climax is tense and taut. These are the mean and sometimes comical streets of London. Geoffrey Chaucer would be proud to include "The Lives of the Saints" as his final Canterbury Tale.


This film from celebrated celebrity photographer Rankin and newcomer Chris Cottam takes a while to establish it's reality. When faced with the everydayness of what could be any London street corner, you'd be forgiven for thinking this could be one of a hundred faceless, mob-genre London flicks. But what the two directors (with the aid of an interesting script from Tony Grisoni) manage to do is establish an alternate reality in a very familiar surrounding. With some excellent central performances from David Leon (Alexander) and Bronson Webb (Venus), this film attacks the senses and makes the viewer ask questions about morality, greed, lust and power! The haunting presence of the mute Child (Sam MacLintock) adds an eerie dimension to an already altered universe, where people are as likely to spout elegiac prose as cause some serious physical harm. In short, this film delivers where lots of British films fail; it asks questions and packs punches in equal measure. BRILLIANT!


i am rarely moved to make these kind of comments BUT after sitting through most of rankin's dreadful movie i feel like i have really earned the right to say what i feel about it! i couldn't actually make it right to the end, and became one of the half dozen or more walk outs (about 1/3rd of the audience) after the ragged plot, woeful dialogue and insulting characterisation became just too much to bear. this film is all pose and no art. all style and no substance. it is weighed down by dreadful acting, a genuinely dire script, indifferent cinematography and student-level production values. how it got funded, started, and finished is a mystery to me. i bet you a million quid it never goes on general release. the proper critics would tear it apart. a really bad film. shockingly bad. a really really really poor effort AND that is without even mentioning the gratuitous new-born-kitten-gets-dropped-into-a-deep-fat-fryer moment. totally meaningless, utterly lightweight, poorly put together; this movie is a dreadful embarrassment for uk cinema.


This is a very odd film ... I wasn't really sure what is was about, some N London lowlifes find a mute kid in the woods that they all believe is some kind of oracle and somehow makes them all, in their own way, change something about their lives that usually ends in disaster. The film ended after about 90 minutes leaving me feeling quite unsatisfied, almost annoyed at the pointlessness of it all. I didn't care about any of the characters - none of them get a chance to endear themselves to the viewer.

What was the message? Am I being dim? It was just too odd. What happens to Runner? Why does Emilio shoot the kid? ... that made absolutely no sense, pointless. Can someone help me understand this mess of a film?


I saw this film at the London Film festival, and along with Shane Meadows' This is England it was the best film there. It is ambitious in a way few films dare to be for fear of commercial exclusion and entertaining on a variety of levels.

Rankin has been very shrewd. For his debut feature he has taken on a project which not only reflects the values of Dazed and Confused magazine but which sends out the message that he is more interested in quality film making rather than just making a quick buck.

The Cast is strong and centres around the character of Othello played by David Leon who gives one of the most impressive and dynamic debut performances I have seen. He is joined by James Cosmo, again giving what must be one of the best performances of his career playing the overbearing, beast of a man, local boss Mr Karva. Surrounded by support from Bronson Webb (Emilio) and Marc Warren (wanna-be transvestite, father Daniel) the ensemble add layers of depth which at times border on weird but, manage to somehow remain surprising and wholly original.

It felt to me a a conscious decision to rebel against the so often seen 'tale of urban London', found in our multiplexes since the success of Lock stock. The huge achievement of the film is the fact that in that sense it has huge irony, as on the surface it seems to be the aforementioned however we quickly realise this is a conscious ploy, Lives of the Saints is a moral tale, wrapped in urban London paper, set on the streets of a pocket of London so remote it could be anywhere, yours or my backyard, the tale being that greed, no matter in what form it may manifest itself, will ultimately have it's consequences or that: "what you want is not always what you need." It left me wanting more.


As a photographer myself, but don't find the aura of Rankin to be beguiling at all, I was almost hoping that this was a failure, that it was as bad as most reviews make it out to be.

Direction-wise, it is very ordinary, indeed. No 'special eye'; just pointing the camera in the right direction at the right time. But, I like a challenge, I like a difficult movie and I'll give Brit flicks an extra effort, so I watched this with an open mind.

Yes, James Cosmo as gangster Karva is a difficult fella to like and I can't work out if he's being himself or is indeed, acting. Either way, he's either overacting or an extremely overexcited, maybe unstable individual. David Leon, as the Runner at least adds some semblance of decency until the movie descends into Tarantino territory, in a torture scene. Then it goes back into a Cockney 'Shameless' zone, as the wide- eyed 'saint/angel' or whatever "it" is goes from speechless orphan to fortune teller and caster of wishes in a nano-second - and miracle of all miracles, everybody knows this, without the child seemingly having said anything.

Unfortunately, The Lives Of...has the narrative consistency of school- dinner custard as it jumps about like a frog in a blender and basically one's faith in it diminishes as all credibility crashes.

The script wants to be big and clever but isn't, it's just shouty and aggressive. As the religious bits kicked in, I was not relishing the afore-warned appearance of Marc Warren, who is, to my mind a greatly overrated actor, who always manages to rub me up the wrong way. That's a personal thing, of course and shouldn't affect my view of the film itself, but it does.

At this point, during a scene in church, where a man burps and then plugs from a large bottle of vodka, I did a rare thing - and switched it off. A waste of everybody's time, especially mine. I saw it on BBC2


Well, usually I give a plot outline in this section, but considering the fact that I didn't know myself what the hell was going on myself, I'll try to be as concise as possible. A group of losers find an abandoned child, who can help them predict results while gambling, thus making them a lot of money. The local Russian(?) gangster doesn't like this (more on him later) and tries to get the little blighter. Then we have a stupid cafe worker who suddenly decides an old drunk she meets is her son, a priest who dances in his church when he is all alone, A black guy called Roadrunner(!) who.. runs everywhere and.. ARRGH I GIVE UP!!

Populated exclusively be people with stupid accents and with one of the most incoherent stories I have ever seen, it is unbelievable that this film ever got made. All throughout I was thinking to myself: What was the point in THAT scene? Why am I watching these boring people? Why is this such pretentious drivel? What's with the portentous narration? In the end I just gave up and started to play Literati on the Internet, leaving the film on so I could write this review having claimed I had watched it.. but my God, it was painful just to LISTEN to it. Repeat this film on a loop in Guantanamo bay, and I guarantee you'll be up to your neck in radical Muslims making confessions, whether they're guilty or not.

I must give a special mention to the obese gentleman who plays the foreign Ruskie mobster. Simply put, the delivers the WORST performance I have ever seen in the thousands of films I have watched. That ain't hyperbole. To look at him is to hate him. To hear him is to hate him. Heck, even his tan is fake. I sincerely hope that if he ever decides to act again, someone close to him will politely but firmly remind him what a fool he made of himself here and tell him to forget it. If he still won't listen to reason, drug him. Lock him up. Break his legs if needs be, but don't let him anywhere near a camera again. Please.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot.. What a terrible, terrible movie. 0/10