Film Review: Least Among Saints

This entry in the returning-vet genre should probably have gone straight to the Lifetime channel.

Gulf War veteran Anthony (Martin Papazian) comes home to Tucson, Arizona, severely affected with PTSD, with its attendant nightmares, flashbacks and trauma. He hits the bottle and terrorizes the neighborhood, estranging his ex-wife (Audrey Marie Anderson), who takes out a restraining order against him. He crashes his car, but a form of redemption offers itself when his neighbor (A.J. Cook), a prostitute, OD’s, and Anthony takes her little son Wade (Tristan Lake Leabu, excellent) under his wing, saving him from the horrors of foster care. The question of his being, with all of his baggage, perhaps not the best alternative are eventually brushed away by a social worker with the unfortunately evocative name of Jolene (a nicely strong Laura San Giacomo).

Here we go with another male triple-threat attempt at acting, directing and writing on the part of Papazian. It should be said that he’s definitely best as an actor, possessing dark good looks and a quiet power. But Papazian’s writing and direction of Least Among Saints are none too original, smacking of many another soap opera-ish vet-coming-home tale. The acting is good overall, however, and Anthony’s initial scenes with Wade are affectingly authentic. It is only later, when they set out on a road trip to find Wade’s father, followed by an overwrought wind-up, that your patience is pushed to the limit. Preachiness also rears its dreary head here in the form of a sympathetic police chief (Charles S. Dutton), filling the audience in on the need for compassion for this ruined soldier.