The Saint, starring Val Kilmer and Elizabeth Shue and directed by Phillip Noyce is simply one more Hollywood wish-fulfilment fantasy for teenage boys — full of gadgetry, secret identities, revenge against authority and beautiful but compliant females — and therefore of negligible interest to those with a more general interest in the art of cinema. The few cultural implications that may be noted along the way — the strongly anti-Catholic tinge to the early part of the film and the anti-Russian tinge to the rest of it — will not be unfamiliar to attentive audiences. Nor will the laughable scientific gobbledegook accompanying the discovery by an attractive young woman in her 20s of the principle of cold fusion which has for so long eluded her academic seniors. Nor will the treatment of art and poetry as nothing but a kind of cultural brand name, a way of getting women into bed and secret formulae (and other things) out of their underwear. Nor will the celebration of free-lance thievery at the expense of governments and police, corrupt and otherwise, or the value placed upon wealth as the object of existence. But with so much that is familiar, you’ve got to wonder if it isn’t possible for the youth of America to be taught better fantasies?
Ethics & Public Policy Center
Published in EPPC Online on April 1, 1997