Father Stuart Lengthy was a real-life boxer who turned a Catholic priest after a motorbike crash triggered a non secular expertise, just for him to then develop a debilitating muscular illness. It’s a real story seemingly tailored for the cinematic therapy, particularly filmmakers reminiscent of Mark Wahlberg — additionally a producer right here, who reportedly funnelled thousands and thousands from his personal pockets into the undertaking — searching for explicitly faith-based narratives.
Because the titular Stu, Wahlberg places in a dedicated efficiency, and in comparison with the studied indifference of his latest blockbuster efforts, he at the very least appears to be making an attempt right here. Stu is precisely the type of salt-of-the-earth hothead that Wahlberg is provably strongest at, even when his accent — which appears to be Texas by means of Boston, though the true Stu was from Montana — is slightly everywhere in the map. That is evidently a ardour undertaking for the actor-producer and his bodily transformation on display screen, as Stu’s bodily deterioration accelerates within the movie’s latter half, is stark. (Wahlberg apparently gained 30 lb for the position, claiming to have drunk a cup of olive oil each morning.)
The movie appears confused by its priorities: is it a biopic, or spiritual propaganda?
However the movie appears confused by its priorities: is it a biopic, or spiritual propaganda? The opening act needs us to think about it a personality examine of working-class People struggling to seek out their method by way of life; an Americana jukebox of a soundtrack — Johnny Money and ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’ among the many tracks on it — confirms the folksy method. Among the materials about macho males wrestling impotently with their feelings — Wahlberg punches a statue of Jesus at one level — works effectively sufficient, even when it’s sometimes patronising. However Mel Gibson, forged right here as an disagreeable alcoholic who barks slurs from his pick-up truck, is a wild misfire, and feels uncomfortably near the tabloid headlines of actuality. (The reunion of Gibson and Wahlberg enjoying a father and son will at the very least give cheer to any remaining followers of Daddy’s Dwelling 2.)
By the tip, first-time writer-director Rosalind Ross appears to go for simply empty proselytising, veering into Lifetime-levels of cheese. When Stu lastly finds God, it comes after a imaginative and prescient of the Virgin Mary and a few soft-focus rosary-bead stroking, shot like a megachurch business. His is a narrative that might provide up an exploration of religion and the way it intersects with sacrifice and adversity, however after an intriguing opening act, the filmmakers go for the much less fascinating route. So far as faith-based movies go this yr, watch Benedetta as a substitute.