The Saint (1997) – Esoteric Analysis, Pt. 1

By: Jay 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.

While Val sneaks in, up-and-coming Russian would-be Tsar, Ivan Tretiak, surrounded by Orthodox Bishops and Patriarchs, propounds the “Third Rome” theory well-known in Orthodox circles. This older view, held by many Russian Orthodox, is that “3 Romes have fallen, a fourth there shall not be.” The first being old Rome, the second being Byzantium, and the last being Holy Mother Russia. Russia, The Saint is predicting, will rise to prominence again. An interesting fact, given modern geo-political developments.

Tretiak, a former communist leader, is now a billionaire oil magnate. An interesting insight into the true nature of communism as the flip side of the capitalist dialectic. Tretiak also embodies the connection between politics and corporations. In other words, he is a perceptive incarnation of the modern state – a combination of the polis and the banking/corporate establishment.

Successfully nabbing the rather large “microchip,” the saint escapes through some trickery and sexual liasons as “Martin de Porres” – who Kilmer says could heal through “the laying on of hands” – in this case a reference to sex. Still plagued by nightmares of his youthful trauma, he dreams about his real “name,” or identity.

Enter Tesla Technology & Alchemy

Tretiak decides to meet with the mysterious saint who has stolen his “microchip,” and offers him the job of stealing the formula for cold fusion from an Oxford physicist who has unlocked it’s powers. The saint, under a new guise, attends Dr. Emma Russell’s (played by Elizabeth Shue) physics lectures on cold fusion in order to profile her.

Shue enters into an explanation of cold fusion and uniting and igniting matter’s latent potentiality. In alchemical fashion, our saint seems to take this in a somewhat amorous way. And, of course, in alchemy, the sexual act is read as an analogy/ritual emblem of the creation and destruction of matter.

Alchemical symbol illustrating male/female duality

Val breaks into her apartment and figures out he will have to become the poet, “artist” and father figure to win her over in order to obtain the cold fusion formula. Val becomes St. Thomas More, who acts more like Jim Morrisson than anything like More would have been. Thomas More’s pick up lines are great for a laugh, by the way. As Dr. Russell is the scientist, Val must become the intuitive artist to complete in her what is lacking.

Val’s trick works and the recitation of his alchemical, cold-fusion-sexual-inuendo poem conquers her:

I see my angel for the first time,

I know my purpose, feel my birth,

Hear, at first, faintly, then distinctly,

The sweet strains of our union,

Our love heats up the cold universe,

And gives my tired, desperate hope,

Purified by our kisses, are eternally healed.

Thus it is made evident that the conquering of Nature with the discovery of her secrets via cold fusion is tied in with Val’s conquering of Dr. Russell’s feminine nature. In the alchemical view, sex is a symbol of the process of transformation and transformation is a symbol of the sexual act. Vice versa (or more correctly, vesica pisces!). Dr. Russell carries her “formula for creating energy” in her bra, which amuses Val who jokes that the secret to energy is in her “underwear.” Amazed at his perception, Val explains he knows and does things by “magic.”

The saint finally seduces Dr. Russell and realizes that he wants to find his identity in the sex act, but decides instead to just lie there. Meaning found in the other. But he is torn, not wanting to steal the cold fusion formula.

Magic. Science. Sex. Are the parameters of these things separate or linked?

Part 2 here.

This analysis has become even more relevant, considering the possibilities of Andrea Rossi’s E-Cat cold fusion claims.

1 Comment on The Saint (1997) – Esoteric Analysis, Pt. 1

  1. I’m trolling the net drumming up interest for my novel in progress, The Acts of Simon Magus, and you looked like someone who may find it of interest. It’s an epic historical fantasy which explores the roots of the original Gnosticism through the eyes of its notorious founder. Here is a draft for my upcoming Indiegogo campaign, including video and link to some readings. All comments welcome!

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  1. “The Saint” – Esoteric Analysis, pt 2 « Jay's Analysis

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