Last weekend my husband and I watched a movie called For Greater Glory, which had been recommended to me by Mark Moncrieff. As fas as I could understand, it was Mexican - American production, directed by Dean Wright (the same man who did visual effects for such films as Titanic, Gone In 60 Seconds, Lord Of The Rings and Chronicles Of Narnia). For Greater Glory which ran in Mexico under the name Christiada, was his directorial debut.
The movie tells us the story of Christeros, Catholic rebels who fought against the government of the Mexican president Plutarco Ellias Calles, after he started enforcing rigourous anti-religious laws. The events depicted in the movie stretch from 1926, when "the Calles Law" which stated that every priest criticising the government would get a 5 year prison term, is signed and the churches throughout the whole country of Mexico close their doors to 1929 when the church bells start ringing again and the civil war between Christeros and Federales finally ends.
It is based on real events though it takes some artistic liberties when portraying the historical characters, and has a definite Catholic bias which caused the movie to be criticised, though there isn't much said about the tenets of the Catholic faith itself. The film focuses mainly on the (true) story of a boy called Jose Luis Sanches who joins the rebels after witnessing the execution of a priest and dies a martyr's death in the end, and General Enrique Gorostiera (a real historical character) who is hired by the rebels to exercise central command, and is basically an action movie, with elements of drama.
I found it very interesting from the historical point of view, but because of the tragic events shown in it (especially the gruesome scene of torture and murder of Jose Luis) the movie is not what one would call nice family entertainment for a Saturday evening. Another problem with the film was that the producers basically tried to cram a lot of events into 2.5 hours which necessarily meant that some parts of it were rather sketchy and some plot lines ended rather abruptly,with the result of some critics saying that the movie was more educational than involving or would better function as a mini-series.
In my opinion, For Greater Glory still manages to convey the atmosphere of that time period and does overall a decent job in showing the historical events little known outside Mexico and creating the convincing images of the main characters, though it lacks a certain depth. I would recommend to to everyone interested in history.
Here is the trailer:
For Greater Glory