Cinema Review: Beyond Glory | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, January 25th, 2022  

Beyond Glory

Studio: Gravitas Ventures
Directed by Larry Brand

Oct 11, 2016 Web Exclusive
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Actor Stephen Lang has toured his one-man show, Beyond Glory, all over the world. The inspiring, stirring theatrical peace is Lang’s homage to United States service members. In the show, Lang brilliantly and deferentially recounts the real-life actions of eight Medal of Honor recipients, whose courage under fire during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam Conflict earned them the nation’s highest military recognition. Larry Brand’s film of the same title brings Lang’s play to the small (and large) screen, giving those who have not yet had the opportunity to see the live show a chance to appreciate the actions of the men Lang portrays.

Stephen Lang is a masterful actor. His roles in such feature films as Avatar and episodic programming like the short-lived Terra Nova often give him more opportunity to flex his arm than his acting muscles, but Beyond Glory finds Lang at the top of his game. He deftly transitions between each of the eight Medal of Honor recipients he portrays, using subtle costume, vocal, and mannerism adjustments to signify that a new protagonist has stepped on stage.

Brand’s cinematic realization of the play is somewhat less engaging than seeing the work live (full disclosure: I had the opportunity to see Lang perform Beyond Glory in New York a few years ago). The film is subject to somewhat erratic editing. Part of this is inherent to the challenge of adapting a one-man show for the screen. Brand’s film cuts together footage of numerous Beyond Glory performances and re-stages the play without an audience against various backdrops. In terms of actual storytelling, the film’s editing is seamless; multiple performances string together tightly so as to avoid any accidental loss of momentum or plot. However, some of the shots chosen – either corrupted with less than perfect audio or featuring a disinterested seeming audience member – are questionable decisions given the countless hours Brand likely had to choose from. However, the film opens with Lang delivering the same anecdote Brand opts to close with (at 78 minutes of total run-length, the duplication is an odd decision), and then segues into a rather manic rapid fire repetition of the top of the show, as performed in multiple locations. The frenzied editing hurts the experience of watching a play, now captured on film, and casts the viewer one step further from the moment. As the editing pace calms, however, it becomes easier to settle in, to bask in Lang’s performance, and to feel tremendous awe and respect for the men he honors.

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Author rating: 6/10

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Average reader rating: 6/10



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IOJoseph
August 10th 2020
7:00am

thank you for your forum/blog

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