My wife and I watched it on Netflix because I was intrigued by this little known rebellion that involved the Roman Catholic Church and a rather nasty Mexican government led by Plutarco Elías Calles. Calles was bent on eliminating Roman Catholicism in Mexico. Many Catholics forcibly resisted the heavy-handed and even brutal government and launched the Cristero Rebellion.
The movie centers on a mercenary general recruited by the Catholics to fight the government forces. The general is an agnostic (called atheist in the movie by his wife played by Eva Longoria) but also a bit of a military genius. The general, Enrique Gorostieta, is played by Andy Garcia and played well.
A sub-plot involves a boy who witnesses the execution of a peaceful priest and decides to join the rebels. The boy is adopted by the general and then captured by the cruel federal troops. The boy’s torture and eventual execution looks like a passion play and quite touching. The boy has been canonized as a Catholic saint and martyr.
Not knowing anything about the actual history of the rebellion my wife and I found the story line compelling. Critics said the movie was overtly Roman Catholic and I suppose it was but that’s not why we found it compelling.
We’re evangelical Protestants and so would have serious issues with Rome regarding the nature of the gospel but that’s all beside the point because the movie is about freedom of religion and worship something enshrined in our own Constitution.
I found it interesting that the Mexican Government of the period seemed to use the Catholic Church as a scape goat presumably because the Catholic Church must have spoken out against some government policy or other.
I think a person can rightly wonder how long a progressive, increasingly, heavy-handed Obama led government in our country will tolerate religious opposition to abortion on demand, same-sex marriage and aspects of Obamacare?
Some say, oh persecution can’t happen here but I’ll bet that’s what the Mexican Catholics thought in the late twenties. My hat is off to them because they fought back. Good thing they had guns heh?
To my wife and I the movie made a significant point about religious freedom and what can happen when a government decides to persecute a church because the church opposes its agenda.
As to the historicity of the movie and because I knew nothing about the rebellion I looked it up and found this link in a review.
The movie appears to follow the history to a point but takes liberties and given the scope of the rebellion that is hardly surprising.
The movie features a number of secondary characters, some quite interesting. At times it is hard to follow these character because there are so many and they do not have time to develop them. That seems to be a weakness in the movie and a mini-series might have done the whole thing better justice.
Nevertheless, it was a good movie in our opinion with timely message. We’d give in 3 1/2 stars.
- Will We Respond: “Viva Crista Rey?” (ezerwoman.wordpress.com)