Kyle Cubr of Cine-File reviews the documentary “Almost Holy”

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In Mariupol, Ukraine, Gennadiy Mokhnenko (self-dubbed  ‘Crocodile Gennadiy’) runs Pilgrim, a rehabilitation center built to help drug-addicted children who live on the street or in neglected households. ALMOST HOLY paints Crocodile as a Ukrainian Batman or Robin Hood, a vigilante who is resolved to take down the drug pushers destroying his community. The theme of vigilantism is scrutinized but left ambiguous, leaving the viewer to decide if Crocodile is operating for purely altruistic reasons or if he is also after personal power and notoriety. Steve Hoover’s film is bleak and the primarily grey color wheel employed only furthers this tone. His uses of soft focus and shallow depth of field leave a detached feeling, implying that this story is one often overlooked by those who should be responsive. Over the fifteen years covered on screen, it’s made quite clear that Mariupol is still climbing out of the ashes of the former USSR. Looming even larger is Russia’s long-reaching shadow and its effects on Crimea or those located just to the west. There is an anti-communism tone that is strongly championed by the central figure. Of Mariupol, Crocodile states, “I hate many wicked things about it, but I love my city. I hope that my life leaves a mark.” ALMOST HOLY is a documentary shedding light on one man’s civic and moral duty to help those that need it most.

“Almost Holy” plays at select times at the Music Box Theatre!

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