davidehrlich’s review published on Letterboxd:
Remember the first 10 minutes of “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” when Hushpuppy was just running around with sparklers and the music was blaring and you were profoundly moved for reasons you couldn’t quite understand? Well, Viktor Jakovleski’s “Brimstone & Glory” is essentially the feature-length adaptation of that feeling. Produced and scored by “Beasts” mastermind Benh Zeitlin, this euphoric documentary is a veritable orgy of lights and sounds, a pyroclastic symphony of explosions in the sky that makes you happy to be alive, even if you’re not entirely sure why.
Largely experiential, though laced with pearls of narration that pull it back from being quite as impressionistic as the likes of “Baraka” or “Leviathan,” “Brimstone & Glory” opens with a title card that gives us most of the context we’ll need for the hour that follows. Every year, the Mexican town of Tultepec holds a week-long celebration of San Juan de Dios, a patron saint who supposedly rescued people from a burning hospital without getting a single burn on his body. The festivities center on two incredibly elaborate fireworks displays: The Castles of Fire and the Burning of the Bulls. Many of the participants survive.