DVD Review: Almost Holy
By John Corrado
★★½ (out of 4)
Gennadiy Mokhneneko is a pastor who roams the poverty-stricken streets of Ukraine at night, rescuing children from drug addictions and abuse, using whatever force necessary to bring them to his shelter, and not above vigilante justice to rip them from the grips of crime.
Directed by Steve Hoover, who also gave us Blood Brother, Almost Holy follows the enigmatic and controversial pastor over multiple years, putting us on the front lines as he cracks down on abusive homes and saves kids from drug use. It’s set against the backdrop of the increasing tension between Russia and Ukraine, which threatens to undo his work.
Although Gennadiy Mokhneneko makes for an interesting subject, we also get the sense that there are elements to these stories that the filmmakers have chosen not to show. The choice to edit in scenes form an ancient-looking animated children’s show about a crocodile named Gennadiy, which the pastor takes as his namesake, also serves as a distraction within the film. But the cinematography allows the suffering on display to be framed in a way that keeps us watching, and there are enough interesting moments on a humanitarian level, to make Almost Holy mildly worth a look for avid documentary viewers.
The DVD also includes filmmaker commentary, deleted scenes, a featurette showing what the crew went through to get the footage, and a visual montage.
Almost Holy is a Sony Pictures Home Entertainment release. It’s 97 minutes and rated 14A.