Produced by IndieVest Pictures, the film stars Steve Buscemi as John, a compulsive (and chronically bad) gambler who eventually finds the courage to leave Las Vegas for New Mexico. However, he is forced to return to the city of his ills by his boss (Peter Dinklage) to investigate an insurance claim, with a promotion to adjuster level six as incentive.
Buscemi is accompanied on his journey by Virgil (Romany Malco), a seasoned insurance investigator with a perfect record of exposing fraud. On their journey, they cross paths with, among others, a wheelchair-bound stripper named Tasty D Lite, an armed nudist colony in the desert, and a carnival performer who lights himself on fire.
Through it all, John is driven by a new relationship with his cubicle neighbor, Jill (Sarah Silverman), a relentlessly optimistic receptionist with an addiction to smiley faces.
Buscemi has played his fair share of misfits living in society’s shadows over the course of his career, but few have been as as easy to sympathize with as John, whose past keeps catching up with him throughout the film, despite his honest and earnest attempts to leave it behind.
First-time director Rhodes has crafted a darkly comic film with several memorable scenes - notably John’s interview/interrogation with carnival act Flamelord, who is trapped in a malfunctioning combustible suit and craves nothing more than a cigarette. The film’s relatively small cast is populated with a lot of big, unforgettable characters, which could have felt forced if not for the empathetic script of Rhodes, who also wrote the film. The end result is an enjoyable ride from start to finish, or rather from Albuquerque to Las Vegas.
Watch Trailer Saint John of Las Vegas opens in select New York City and Los Angeles theaters on January 29; nationwide on February 12. find tickets