The crime thriller film “There Are No Saints” lays out its idea as plain and blandly as its very name, with a predictable plot that takes the most convenient shortcuts possible. It is hardly ever good fortune for a film to take ten years to be released since production was started, and a jittery, hurried, and somewhat amateurish sense visually prevails over the entire film. Acting performances do not convince much either, and “There Are No Saints” overall is just another avoidable revenge plot wrapped in action.
‘There Are No Saints’ Plot Summary
Neto Niente is a middle-aged man serving a prison sentence for a crime that was wrongly charged against him by the police, when suddenly he is acquitted and released from custody. He is welcomed back to the other side of the fence by Carl Abrahams, who seems to be a friendly associate. Neto learns that the corrupt police officer whose false testimony had led to his imprisonment had developed some fatal disease and had decided, out of pure faith and fear of karma, to undo all his wrongs. As part of it, he had also confessed to wrongly accusing Neto of the crime, and so the man was released. However, Neto is not a clean man either, as he has been involved in multiple criminal activities, one of which keeps coming back to haunt his memory in flashbacks. Quite renowned and infamous for his criminal history, Neto is also known as The Jesuit among those involved in crime-life, as a reference to the violent tortures carried out by some Jesuits during the Spanish Inquisition. Carl suggests that Neto should try and stay away from trouble as much as possible, and Neto too agrees, as he wants to go away from the town after meeting with his son. That very night, he is unlawfully attacked by a group of policemen who villainously promise that, despite his sudden release from prison, they will keep an eye on his actions and try their best to get him behind bars again. The man, too, seems done with his criminal past, as the memory haunts him again—a younger Neto is seen treacherously interrogating a woman about her husband’s whereabouts, and when she refuses to cooperate, he kills her. The Jesuit now meets with his old gang member and friend, Bailarin, asking to be let out of the criminal underworld, and the gangster agrees as long as Neto quickly leaves town and also does not join any other gang.
Neto now goes on his personal mission to meet his young son Julio, who lives with his ex-wife Nadia and her new husband, Vincent. Julio is ecstatic to see his father, as the young boy looks up to his dad as almost a saintly figure, drawing pictures of him and his many devotional tattoos, and also softly complains that he is not too happy living with Vincent. Neto meets privately with Nadia too, and they get intimate as well, but the woman refuses to leave Vincent, as the man is a wealthy property realtor with ties to criminal gangs. However, her fears immediately come true, as Vincent’s men report seeing her with Neto to the man, and Vincent gets physically abusive with her when she returns home. A frightened Julio calls Neto up, informing him of the situation, and the man rushes over to their house to rescue them. Upon reaching home, Neto horrifically finds his ex-wife shot dead and his son kidnapped by Vincent and his men.
Major Spoilers Ahead
How Does The Jesuit Reach Julio To Rescue Him?
At around the same time, when Neto drives over to Vincent’s house after getting a call from Julio, the police officer who had been tailing the man also follows him to the place and calls for backup when he notices something is off. As Neto enters the house and confronts Vincent, the police officer is killed by Vincent, who then quickly flees the scene with his young stepson. The rest of the police force arrive soon and pin the crime on Neto, but the man manages to escape and meets again with Carl. From his ally, he gets to know of a strip club run by one of Vincent’s closest associates, and the Jesuit now goes off in his pursuit. Reaching the club, he talks with the girl working at the bar and some other women to make contact with the owner and guns dealer, Jet Rink. Jet finally agrees to meet him, and Neto is taken over to his home, as he poses as a potential buyer who has come for business after hearing about him from Vincent. However, Neto’s disguise soon goes off though, as Jet reveals he has already had a word with his business partner, and he knows exactly who Neto is. The revelation is conveniently mistimed, as Neto was going through guns at the time, and the man obviously gets in control of the situation, as he kills the bodyguards and questions Jet with his gun pointed at him. When Jet’s girlfriend, Collie, tries to lash out at the man, he coldly shoots her dead and intimidates Jet even more by shooting him in the leg. Urging the man to call up Vincent, Neto lets him stand up and get close to his work table, but is quick enough on the trigger when Jet tries to reach for a gun. Neto searches through all the documents in the house and finds a pamphlet for Vincent’s latest work, a residential complex he is building in Mexico. The distressed but revengeful father quickly befriends the woman bartender at Jet’s strip club, Inez, and asks her to pose as his wife while driving over to Mexico from Texas in exchange for money. Neto knows that a happy-looking couple would be scrutinized with less care by the border officials than a solitary man in a car, and he easily makes his way to Mexico with Inez’s help. The two have a conversation regarding Neto’s actions, mostly at the insistence of the woman, and Inez now offers to continue helping him.
The next day, Neto and Inez arrive at the residential site that Vincent is dealing with, and the woman poses as an interested buyer. She meets directly with Vincent and walks around the entire property, keeping an eye out for any signs of a young boy, and taking photos of the place on her phone. She then reports all of it back to Neto, and also informs him that she is about to meet with Vincent privately again that night in order to get some more information. Despite Neto’s ill-feeling about the entire plan, Inez goes over to Vincent’s house, and she is soon taken hostage by the man who interrogates her about her real motive. Vincent says that he has already guessed that she has been visiting him as a spy and starts hitting her physically when Neto arrives on the scene and saves her. He then uses an array of torture tools and techniques to interrogate Vincent about the whereabouts of his son. After putting up a resolute defense against all of The Jesuit’s tortures, the villainous man reveals that he had handed off Julio to another associate of his named Senor Sans, to whom he owed a lot of money over their business dealings. Sans is an ex-ATF agent with a lot of infamous repute in Mexico for being involved in drugs and guns, and the man also seems to have a pathetic sexual interest in young boys, and so Vincent has now sold off his stepson as a means to pay off his debts. An enraged Neto can no longer hear, and he puts a bullet in Vincent’s head. The next morning, he again tries to convince Inez to go back to the USA like he had earlier tried to persuade her, but the woman once again refuses to listen as she seems to have fallen in love with Neto, perhaps the only man who treats her respectfully. Neto had called up his ex-gang member Bailarin asking for any leads on Sans, but his friend denied knowing the man despite calling him up immediately after Neto was off the line. The next morning, Bailarin calls Neto up, telling him to go to a specific boxing club in Mexico City, and when the man turns up there, along with Inez following him, they are both beaten up and taken hostage.
‘There Are No Saints’ Ending Explained: What Is The Real Identity Of Senor Sans?
When Neto regains consciousness, he finds himself inside a van along with some other men who happen to be his abductors as they are taking him straight to Sans’ lair. Neto fights the men off and takes control of the van, which he drives himself to the place, following the GPS. Sans’ hideout seems like a castle in the middle of a dense forest, and starting to explore the place, Neto finds screens with live images of innumerable people being held captive and tortured, physically and sexually, among whom is Inez as well. Just as he stands and plans his course of action, Neto too is taken captive and is taken down to the inner chambers where he sees many people, men, and women, young and old, lying around in devastating conditions. Sans himself now arrives on the scene, and he leads Neto to a chamber where Julio is kept—but the boy is hanged upside down into a well with his legs tied with chains. As Sans slowly drops Julio into the well’s water in front of the hostage Neto’s eyes, he reveals his real identity—the woman who Neto had killed many years ago, the one that keeps haunting his memory, had a young boy who he had killed too, and Sans was that boy’s father and the woman’s husband. At that time, he had rendered Sans childless for some considerably small reason, one that is kept unmentioned, and now action comes to bite him back as his own son is killed right in front of his eyes. In the very end, he is able to kill Sans, making all his captives free to leave the place, but he is unable to leave with his son, as he had originally intended to do.
Sometime later, Neto and Inez are seen praying in front of Julio’s grave, and Neto prays to his God, asking for forgiveness for all his crimes in the past and also for the ones he is apparently about to commit. The last scene shows Neto opening his car’s trunk to look at a captive Bailarin, as the film then cuts to black and the end-credits roll. This last scene obviously means that Neto now seeks revenge on his former gang member and friend for having betrayed his trust by warning Sans of his arrival.
“There Are No Saints” is a 2022 Drama Thriller film directed by Alfonso Pineda Ulloa.