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2.5 out of 4 stars

Title
10,000 Saints
Written by
Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini
Directed by
Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini
Starring
Asa Butterfield, Ethan Hawke, Hailee Steinfeld
Classification
14A
Country
USA
Language
English
Year
2016

Asa Butterfield is an actor at a crossroads. In the past three years, the 19-year-old has witnessed two would-be blockbuster careers come and go.

First, he starred in 2013's Ender's Game, which failed to kick-start an intended sci-fi series. Second, he just missed out on being cast as the third big-screen iteration of Spider-Man, a role fellow Brit Tom Holland ended up securing. Now, Butterfield seems to be placing his hopes in the land of ambitious indies, starting off with 10,000 Saints, a wry drama that premiered to a decent reception at last year's Sundance Film Festival.

But decent indies are Sundance's stock and trade, and while the film's story about a misfit teen (Butterfield) and his attempts to start a makeshift family in late-eighties New York and Vermont is charming, it lacks resonance and a steady directorial hand.

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As a hero unsure of his family and himself, Butterfield is compelling, yet you can't help but sense he would rather be someplace else – somewhere, perhaps, with a bigger budget. He'll get his third such shot with Tim Burton's franchise hopeful Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, due this September.

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