I really wanted to like For Greater Glory. It's a powerful story and could have been presented in a way that was moving without sacrificing it's Catholic perspective.
I say "could" because the movie left me very disappointed.
Like so many "Catholic movies," it was heavy-handed. It did a lot of telling instead of showing. There were lots of things I want to nit pick about (for example, why do some people have a mexican accent and some don't and they all speak Spanish at random times?), but, in the end, all I want to know is why can't they just tell a story?
So many people had raved about this move (except for this review, which turned out to be fairly accurate), it makes me wonder: what are our criteria for a good movie? That it has any sort of Catholic message?
Sure, For Greater Glory had self-sacrifice, heroic priests, liturgically correct Masses, courage in the face of certain death, and countless other good Catholic themes. The one truly moving part of the film, the martyrdom of José Sánchez del Río, will stick with me. It was brutally and beautifully honest, and made seeing the movie worthwhile.
But, despite all that, For Greater Glory also had too many characters, inconsistent character development, a boring soundtrack, and choppy editing.
It was a great story - told poorly.
If all we want is to get a Catholic story on screen, sure that's good enough.
But if we want to capture imaginations and move people (like so many "secular movies" do), we have to do better.