Reviewed by: John Decker
1920s Cristero War, also known as the La Cristiada
atheist and former Mexican President Plutarco Elias Calles
atheist government taking away religious freedom
How can we know there’s a God? Answer
What if the cosmos is all that there is? Answer
If God made everything, who made God? Answer
the cost of religious persecution
What price would you pay for freedom?
courage, bravery, self-sacrifice
Traditions vs. Scripture alone—Is sola Scriptura a biblical or a man-made concept?
Eva Longoria … Tulita
Andy Garcia … Enrique Gorostieta Velarde
Oscar Isaac … Victoriano “El Catorce” Ramirez
Bruce Greenwood … Ambassador Morrow
Peter O'Toole … Father Christopher
Bruce McGill … President Calvin Coolidge
Nestor Carbonell … Mayor Picazo
Rubén Blades … President Plutarco Elias Calles
See all »
Pablo Jose Barroso … producer
Sandra Solares … line producer
|Distributor||ARC Entertainment and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation|
“What would you pay for the price of freedom?”
A solid first note about this film and a theme relative to this entire review is that, for my research, “For Greater Glory” is highly historically accurate. In light of Hollywood’s consistent, titanic falsities, cinematic historical accuracy is a delightful and rare occasion. Less surprising perhaps, under these circumstances, is that it was not Hollywood produced. To it’s credit, this says nothing of it’s level of quality, which is clearly praise worthy. The extent of profanity in this film is the epithetical use of the word “hell” three times. For the question of sexual content; part of one short scene has a non-explicit portrayal of one or more women in period undergarments (no more revealing than an average western bar-maid outfit) herein the story reveals more real history than flesh; women and children became willing transporters of ammunition and supplies for the rebels, with sacks packed tightly under their outer clothing. There is a scene with a husband and wife in bed. They are covered and simply engage in conversation from across the bed. This detail is simply added to this review for those who need it. This movie has several references to God, to Christ, and does not dishonor His memory. It is an honest historical portrayal of Catholic theology. It is more than peppered with The Gospel, touching on salvation and sanctification. It does display dependence on the formal priesthood and continual repentance dependent salvation. This does not bother me, because I know I will address this with my children.
“For Greater Glory”, based on the book “The Cristero Rebellion”, chronicles some of the Cristeros War (1926-1929), when faithful Catholics and respecters of freedom took their stand in various ways against an oppressive Mexican government, lead by an atheistic, Marxist President Plutarco Elias Calles. As this film and history soon reveals, Our United States learns a lesson it soon forgets, that dependency on foreign oil creates opportunity to do what is right and temptation to do otherwise. Our resident dictator repeatedly pauses oddly, mid-sentence and makes delicate gestures with his fingers while ordering treacherous, oppressive action against the Catholic Church or anyone meekly in his way.
There is disrespect for clergy by a boy in the story, this is followed by a slap and then some well met correction as he is taken to that priest. Some of the richness of the story begins here. What follows are well thought out portrayals of forgiveness, gentle rebuke, and generous, quick mercy. Are good relationships truly the beautiful side of discipline and discipleship? Are they at the core of the Christian life? This film asks these questions with a tapestry of messages regarding honor, loyalty, faithfulness, and bravery. Is passivity another word for cowardice? Is there an end to the treachery of souls silent in the face of evil? Do the cowardly inherit anything but shame in this life and the life to come? (Revelation 21:8)
There is a torture scene, however the torture is, albeit audibly conveyed, for the most part only visually suggestive. Though it is highly impacting and emotional, it is much less visual and there is—much less violence in it—than another rated R film whose greatest negative (according to MPA standards) is violence and physical persecution, namely Gibson’s portrayal of Christ’s final hours, “The Passion of the Christ.” This is not a comparison between Christ and this particular Mexican hero at all. The films are compared here because, like “The Passion of the Christ,” were it not for the portrayal of real historical violence it is certain the MPA would not have rated this film ‘R’ for restricted. Understand that I determined to know if this torture was artistic license. What I found was that the real torture of this individual was at least twice as harsh as the movie portrays it.
Filled with mostly cowboy style violence that written history more than confirms, very little of that violence would be deemed gratuitous by the harshest critics, considering the valid history it portrays. In-fact it leans much more toward the suggestive, with the majority of the violence being more reminiscent of 70’s era westerns than much of the theatrical violence of recent years. For the lack of ingratiating imagery, it should still be well noted, the violence is gripping. I must be clear about this (make no mistake) There is much death and sadness. There are shootings, multiple hangings, stabbings, and brutal cowardice. Most scenes simply lack the ingratiating close-ups and long holds so common in today’s movies.
The bottom line for me is I love this movie, and I am a harsh critic of story. It is not for the faint of heart, and I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone under 14 unless their maturity is above average. I would take my 13 year old son to it, knowing that the violence is borderline, but the historical and political messages of this film are too important to miss. I recommend it for every mature lover of freedom. I recommend it for anyone of Hispanic origin, particularly it should encourage Mexican’s of a bold and valiant time, in these days of a troubled Mexico. The movie is exciting and inspires courage.
This film does not merely challenge the Christian with a sedate coffee shop question: “What is the right way to stand up to evil?” Rather it puts them in the seat of action and shakes them with the answer: “Standing up to tyranny is not subject to decision, it is part of the Christian life.” (2nd Tim. 3:12) “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
Lastly, we learn through the non-religious man who becomes the rebel leader that Godly character traits are a reflection of The Creator and not a sole proprietorship of those who call themselves by His Wonderful Name.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Minor
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.