Almost Holy | Chicago Reader

Almost Holy

Pastor Gennadiy Mokhnenko, the flawed hero of this stirring 2015 documentary, runs Pilgrim Republic, a rehabilitation center for drug-addicted street kids in Mariupol, Ukraine. A charismatic and controversial figure, Mokhnenko has been called a vigilante by his critics but insists he must intervene in the lives of homeless youth and battered women because government services are ill-equipped to help them and the police don't seem to care. At one point Mokhnenko quotes Dostoyevsky to defend his unorthodox methods: "I am not rebelling against my God, I simply don't accept His world." Beginning with his rough formation of Pilgrim's Republic in 2000 and ending with Russia's military push into Ukraine in 2014, director Steve Hoover peels back multiple layers of Mokhnenko's story with artistry and acuity, assisted by a heady and propulsive score from composer Atticus Ross (The Social Network, Gone Girl).

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