Bart Mendoza 5 a.m., Dec. 8
Review: For Greater Glory
Here is the short version:
Handsomely photographed but pious and simplistic story of the Cristeros – Mexican Catholics who fought back against a government crackdown in the 1920’s. It’s never really clear why the bad-guy soldiers take such delight in hanging priests, torturing children, and burning crucifixes. And it’s all too clear why retired general Enrique Velarde (a wooden and sleepy Andy Garcia) decides to help out: he’s tired of making soap, plus, “I believe in religious liberty.” Well, okay then. There is a story here about the road to faith, but the scope is far too broad for it to show properly, even as the perspective is far too narrow.
Slightly longer version: Oscar Isaac makes the most of his role as the Han Solo-style cynic to Eduardo Verastegui's true believing Luke Skywalker. Ruben Blades does fine work as a politician who views religion as a political problem. And the young Mauricio Kuri brings an affecting believability to his portrayal of a boy caught up in an ideal. Beats are hit, complexities are introduced, and epic sweep is intimated - and yet.