‘Be careful what you wish for’ is the moral of this offbeat contemporary fairytale, co-directed by photographer Rankin. The setting is the multicultural Green Lanes district of north-east London, where the thuggish Mr Karva (James Cosmo) controls various criminal enterprises with the assistance of stepson Othello (David Leon). Their lives are transformed, however, when a mute foundling (Sam MacLintock) is discovered nearby – an abandoned child who turns out to be both clairvoyant and miracle worker...
With its magical realist approach and Cosmo’s theatrical villain, The Lives Of The Saints could have made for an interesting examination of spiritual needs in modern urban Britain. Thanks to some sluggish pacing, sketchily drawn characterisations (notably Marc Warren’s doubting priest) and a predictable, gun-toting finale, though, it ends up as far less than you might have hoped for.