A Fight For Change Outside Of The Law, ‘Almost Holy’ Review


A powerful depiction of social movement bordering on vigilantism, ‘Almost Holy,’ directed by Steve Hoover, shines a light on Pastor Gennadiy Mokhnenko and his extreme ministries to combat problems plaguing the heart of Ukraine.

These ministries include: kidnaping drug addled homeless children to get them off the streets, providing protection and shelter for abused women, confronting opiate dealers, and organizing protests to run drugs out of his community.

Active since the early 2000’s, Pastor Gennadiy has worked his cause through many outlets, all detailed in the documentary, but his main focus is a recovery home he started, named Pilgrim. It’s through Pilgrim that he provides food, lodging, and guidance to the abandoned addicted children he kidnaps off the street.

Pastor Gennadiy’s methods are both over the top and outside of the law. Often times, using his position as a pastor to leverage his views to any that argue with him. When it’s necessary, Pastor Gennadiy will even resort to threats to make his message clear. Aware of the line Pastor Gennadiy is toeing, this documentary asks you to consider Pastor Gennadiy’s intensions. Are they as honest as he proclaims them to be or are they all for fame and power?

Never loosing sight of the history that brought this community to the dilemma it faces today, ‘Almost Holy’ educates the audience on its issues to the finest detail. Allowing you to fall into a deeper understanding of the personal drama each individual on camera faces.

Steve Hoover’s collaboration with cinematographer John Pope results in a striking, stark, and un-idealized landscape that compellingly frames the world both Pastor Gennadiy and his wards must overcome. Certain shots take on shallow or warped view, invoking the confusion and fight for focus that consumes Ukraine. With pockets of warmth and humor throughout, this documentary doesn’t wag the finger at its viewers, but pulls you in as one of the Pilgrim family—drugs, death, tough love and all.

Executive produced by Terrence Malik, Nicolas Gonda, Michael Killen, Kathy Dziubek, and Jim Kreitzburg. Music by Atticus Ross (‘Gone Girl,’ ‘Social Network’), Leopold Ross, and Bobby Krlic. Produced by Danny Yourd.

‘Almost Holy’ comes to theatres May 20th, 2016.


About Author

Wyatt Phillips

Daniel Wyatt Phillips is a screenwriter, director, illustrator, and reviewer born and raised in Chicago, IL, he enjoys long walks on the beach, peperoni pizza, and worshiping at the shrine of Stanley Kubrick. Currently transplanted to Los Angeles to pursue a career in writing and directing. To check out his range of work, visit: https://vimeo.com/dwpfilm

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