April 14, 2010 2 Comments
I loved the 90s. It was a fun time in my life and one film that sticks out as a kind of goofy, tongue-in-cheek indulgence is The Saint, starring Val Kilmer and Elizabeth Shue. At first glance, the movie is entertaining, but doesn’t stand out as a great film of the 90s. However, like many other instances, I’ve come to notice subtle, hidden meanings and themes that run throughout the film.
“Simon Magus was a magician and a sorcerer…” We see in the opening shots Val Kilmer’s character at a oprhanage reading a comic book of the famed medieval and puportedly Satanically-inclined sect, the Knights Templar.
Simon Magus was the arch-heretic of the book of Acts and believed by many of the Apostolic Fathers to be the first gnostic, giving spawn to a series of libertine and flight-from-reality sects, popularized in modernity as “gnosticism.”
This theme of secret knowledge will run throughout The Saint. Val’s young character refuses to say his name and is punished by the headmaster of the orphanage – a refusal to be connected with the actual saints, as he already has an interest in the alter “saints” condemned by the Church in 1312, known as the Templars.
Instead of miracles, this saint, through trickery and deceit, unlocks the orphanage food and feeds the other children who are being deprived of a meal as a punishment – a take on Jesus’ feeding of the 5,000. Next, we see “Simon Templar” (his new name) running through the streets engaged in more mischief doning a cape with a Templar Cross. In the esoteric, receiving a new name is an important step in the process of gnostic apotheosis. Failing to attain his hero’s kiss from his young love, she slips, falls from the balcony, and dies. Flash forward to the modern Simon Templar, ever-bruised from his youthful tragedy, the rogue agent is busy infiltrating the large Russian Tretiak Oil and Gas Industries building.