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Reputedly faithful to an atypical Elmore Leonard novel, Paul Schrader's film is an uneasy excursion into comedy, albeit of the spiritual kind. No blame attaches to Depp-alike Skeet Ulrich's performance as the saintly ex-Franciscan Juvenal - his 'cool' charisma itself serves to query Juvenal's genuineness - nor to Walken's high-octane, attention-grabbing turn as 'religionist without a cause' Bill Hill, a failed evangelist mad keen to milk a buck by selling the unwilling young faith healer to the air waves. But eyes start widening when tubby Tom Arnold's fundamentalist Catholic - Hill's potential rival - wanders in, seemingly from another movie. He cuts a ridiculous figure as the most clairvoyant self-seeker in a competitive field. This talky would-be satire can find neither an appropriate tone nor a realised human drama to communicate the ideas. But there are some sharp lines and good scenes, notably those with Bridget Fonda as Hill's accomplice (all dope-head languor), sent to help ensnare Juvenal: her expressed personal - sexual - response to meeting this embodiment of 'goodness' makes cartoons of the other characters.

Release details

Duration: 97 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Paul Schrader
Screenwriter: Paul Schrader
Cast: Anthony Zerbe
Lolita Davidovich
Christopher Walken
Tom Arnold
Bridget Fonda
Janeane Garofalo
Gina Gershon
Skeet Ulrich
Paul Mazursky
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