¡Viva Cristo Rey! That was the battle cry spoken and yelled proudly by The Cristeros during the Cristero War in Mexico. The Cristero War took place throughout Mexico from 1926-1929 as the Mexican government persecuted the Roman Catholics and began a very strict enforcement of anti-clerical provisions of the Mexican Constitution of 1917. The Cristero War is a very powerful story in Mexican history and I believe rookie director Dean Wright did an amazing and outstanding job transforming that story, that history, onto the big screen with For Greater Glory.
While some may not recognize the name Dean Wright, most have seen his work as he is a visual effects master having worked on Titanic, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe & The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. Wright decided to make the jump up to director after his role as second unit director for the Chronicle of Narnia films and the last of The Lord of the Rings movies. Quite frankly he couldn’t have picked a better time.
Providing a beautiful soundtrack to the film is Academy Award-winner James Horner. Most notable for his scores on Titanic and Avatar, Horner finds a way to add another dimension to this film through his musical masterpiece by giving scenes a powerful voice and emotion when no words are spoken. For years I have been a huge fan of Horner’s scores and his contribution to the film is nothing short of remarkable.
Starring in For Greater Glory is Academy Award nominee Andy Garcia, Eva Longoria, Peter O’Toole, Bruce Greenwood and Mauricio Kuri. Andy Garcia plays General Enrique Gorostieta, a retired military man with a wife, Tulita Gorostieta (played by Eva Longoria), and their two daughters. Being a retired general and a man of little to no faith, Gorosteieta’s heart and soul is left somewhere on a battlefield, while his wife is very Catholic. Jose (Mauricio Kuri) is a boy who gets taken into the church under the guidance of Father Christopher (Peter O’Toole) but soon witnesses the cruelty of war raging between the Mexican government and the Catholic church and Cristeros.
As conditions worsen, the Cristeros are scattered throughout the country of Mexico but have no strategy and no leader to help rally and unite them in battle against the government. Gorostieta (Garcia) is sought out by the Cristeros to help their cause and help lead a war for something he didn’t believe in. While Gorostieta doesn’t believe in religion, he believes in freedom, and agrees to lead the Cristeros. Along the way, Jose emotionally transforms from a boy to a man and ends up joining the Cristeros to fight for his religious freedoms. While stationed with General Gorostieta, Jose looks to “El General” as a mentor/father figure, but little does Jose know he will become a mentor and inspiration to Gorostieta and the Cristeros.
While Andy Garcia’s performance is one of his best yet, it’s Mauricio Kuri’s that shines above the rest. It’s rare to see such an emotional, powerful and mature performance by such a young actor. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this young man accepting an award for this performance, it’s THAT GOOD! For Greater Glory is an epic tale of war that covers a huge piece of Mexican history and doesn’t beat around the bush. Packed with lots of gun-blazing action sequences alongside heartfelt moments, this film offers everything and more to make it one of those great war story films. This Nerd gives this film a very well-earned 5 out of Nerdskulls!
See the preview below.