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.
Cast and crew