Now playing in NY and LA is St. John of Las Vegas, the debut feature of writer-director Hue Rhodes. The picture gives Steve Buscemi a too-rare leading role as John Alighieri, a man with a gambling problem who is sent to investigate an insurance claim on the outskirts of the Nevada casino capital. Also amongst the cast are Romany Malco, Sarah Silverman and Peter Dinklage.

The film is pricked with references to Dante’s Inferno, though certainly has it’s own narrative which requires no knowledge of the Divine Comedy to understand – think how the Coen Bros. and Homer blended into O Brother Where Art Thou. And whereas the Coens’ film stood on the shoulders of Preston Sturgess, the equivalent influence on St. John would appear likely to be Ozu or Milos Forman.

After the break you can read my edited transcript of some of what Hue has said to me in our conversations over the last few weeks, sharing some of his thoughts on both this movie specifically and films and filmmaking in general.

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