Greater (2016)

Reviewed
Sat. 11/4/17
Greater (2016)
3
Acting
3
3/5
Morality
5
5/5
Music
2
2/5
Story
2.5
2.5/5
Visuals
2
2/5
Kernel Factor
3.5
3.5/5
The most overused never-talked-about film niche: Christian football movies
Reviewed By: Steven Siwek
Viewing Environment:
DVD or Streaming >27in
Viewing Crew:
Significant Other
Times Watched:
1
Genre:
Sports
Payment Method:
Rental/Redbox
Review:

Christians certainly love telling metaphorical lessons through football. If it weren't such a cliche this movie would've probably been better. Even though I think Christian football movies should be put on hold for another 10 years, I would've probably invested in this movie. On paper, I think this story is truly remarkable! I will say this film does come together. It's worth the watch, even though it takes the entire movie to feel that way. There were some strong feels for me, but it's also something I could see myself rewatching in the distant future completely confused by what I just wrote in the previous sentence. It's a film that could drastically change in its ratings depending on the day you watch it, who you're with, and your connection to football.

Acting
Besides the child actors, who just aren't good, the acting is good but also inconsistent. There are times when it was like an actor showed up on his/her A-game and times where it felt like they didn't know their lines. The lead actor was surprisingly very good, given his limited acting experience. I resonated with him and definitely thought his performance shined above the rest.
Morality
I mean some of the bullying about the lead's weight is ridiculous, and you'd want to be cautious having your kids watch this movie if you feel like they think they are overweight. The film brings up great questions and I believe fairly addresses them, especially given the nature/intensity of the story.
Music
They could have used a more upbeat or even memorable/licensed track during the football season. This movie didn't accomplish the montage moments well, and I partly blame that on the music. It certainly kept the mood tense throughout. 
Story
I love the actual story! But the storytelling I don't love all that much. This movie shows that there is an art form to the "flashback" and moving us as an audience around in time. The movie didn't handle that well, and it affected a lot of other areas - visuals, consistency, and scripting. One of my biggest gripes would be this film starts off on the wrong foot. They gave away too much information at the beginning and it felt super cliche. My second biggest problem was that the film was directed and edited by the same person. I don't mean to be a total know it all, but the fact that this movie has a 2hr 10min run time shows me that the editor liked too much...and in this case the editor was the director so that makes sense. But man, they needed a different editor to take this thing down to 1hr 45min max.
Visuals
Well, I was originally going to say they didn't have the budget to make it like Woodlawn, which came out a year before this film (Fall 2015), but then I read Greater supposedly had a $9M budget. Now, assuming that is correct, I don't understand the visual misfire on this film. The lighting is all over the place, the coloring is terrible, and the cameras just feel like they weren't top notch. For $9M they could've got an A-team of behind the scenes creatives, but they didn't. And obviously they can't fill stadiums with actual people, but some of the football action shots were super close ups because they were shot indoors/on a practice field and they didn't have the post-CGI budget to make the stadiums look more legit. When I compare it visually to Woodlawn, comparable budget-wise and story wise, it doesn't even come close.
Kernel Factor
Again, I love the fact that this is a true story. The devil character was an interesting decision that I would've loved in the script but just wasn't executed very well for reasons that weren't always the actor's fault, like sound effects, walking cane, and etching. The film has Poppin' moments (seriously) and then other times of "eeeeek" where you feel embarrassed. Good rental and good message for everyone to hear.

Check out the recently popped reviews