Saint Michael of the City Gritty Streets, Raw Emotions
Photo Courtesy: Adam Ratcliffe, St. Michael of the City

Gritty Streets, Raw Emotions: Exploring “Saint Michael of the City”

This article delves into the world of independent filmmaking with a look at “Saint Michael of the City,” a character-driven drama hitting the festival circuit.

While big-budget blockbusters dominate the mainstream, the heart of cinema often beats within the realm of independent films. “Saint Michael of the City,” directed by Jeff Stewart, is a prime example. This raw and unflinching drama promises a deep dive into the characters’ lives navigating the unforgiving urban landscape. The film is based in Trenton, New Jersey (Jeff Stewart’s hometown), which brings you back to the old neighborhood feel you had growing up.  

Growing Up in New Jersey

Saint Michael of the City holds a profound significance in the vibrant tapestry of Trenton, NJ, as a revered institution and as a beacon of hope and guidance for the local community. Growing up in Trenton, amidst its challenges and triumphs, Saint Michael’s presence loomed large, offering solace, support, and a sense of belonging to its inhabitants. For many, it served as a sanctuary where faith intertwined with the complexities of urban life, providing a steady anchor amid turbulent seas. Its outreach programs, educational initiatives, and spiritual guidance played a pivotal role in shaping the lives of generations, instilling values of compassion, resilience, and community service. Against the backdrop of Trenton’s evolving landscape, Saint Michael of the City stood as a testament to the enduring power of faith and community, nurturing individuals and the collective spirit and leaving an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of those who called Trenton home. Jeff Stewart captures this spirit throughout the entire film.

Star Power with Rising Talent

The film stars Adam Ratcliffe, an actor on the rise, as the titular Michael. Early critics say Ratcliffe delivers a powerful performance, capturing the complexities and struggles of his character. Kevin Interdonato joins him, rounding out the cast as a seasoned actor who had parts in the Sopranos and leads in Bad Frank and The Bastard Sons.

A Focus on Character

Reviews are unanimous that “Saint Michael of the City” prioritizes character development over a flashy plot. Expect natural-flowing dialogue that delves into the inner lives of the protagonists. This focus on human connection and emotional depth could resonate with audiences seeking a more intimate cinematic experience. Michael is extremely conflicted about his past, and something is weighing on him throughout the movie (no spoiler alert here). Therefore, stay tuned for a plot twist at the end, which will surprise viewers.

Aesthetics and Artistic Choices

While the film seems strong on character development, some reviewers have noted a deliberate lack of visual flair. Flat lighting choices suggest focusing on the characters and their stories rather than relying on dazzling visuals. Director Jeff Stewart does a great job of setting the tone throughout the movie, capturing the true horror of the characters (hint: gangsters are not nice people).

A Film for the Discerning Viewer

“Saint Michael of the City” may not be for everyone. Those seeking an adrenaline-pumping action flick might be disappointed. However, this independent film holds the potential for a rewarding cinematic experience for viewers who appreciate character-driven dramas and raw performances. It launched during the Garden State Film Festival with critical acclaim. Check out the full trailer here: It is also available on Amazon Prime to rent or own here.

Published by: Martin De Juan

Share this article


This article features branded content from a third party. Opinions in this article do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of Artist Weekly.