Saint from Port Washington

Unless you are fans of Danny Glover or Matt Dillon, both very good actors, stay away from Tim Hunter's new film, The Saint from Port Washington. Masquerading as a “social problem” film about the homeless, the story has nothing to say about this serious issue. In fact there was a good deal of resentment among the press in Toronto that director Hunter and screenwriter-executive producer Lyle Kessler have used the homeless simply as an excuse for telling a routine friendship story between a black Vietnam vet (Glover) with shrapnel in his leg and a young white schizophrenic (Dillon).

The material and approach are so embarrassingly soft and slight, it might as well have been a Made-for-TV Movie of the Week. Except for one villain, who steals from and terrorizes the homeless, housed in the Fort Washington Armory, all the other characters are benign and benevolent–Matt Dillon's Matthew is endowed with some mysterious healing power. Hunter's direction is pedestrian and dull; it's hard to believe that he was the filmmaker of River's Edge, one of the most disturbing and haunting films of the last decade about anomie and alienation among suburban youth.

Well-intentioned and meant to be a sensitive, realistic slice-of-life film, The Saint from Port Washington is just another simplistic, literal tale of male camaraderie.