"Almost Holy," a dark look at another aspect of the fall of the Soviet Union, is the sort of documentary that is almost too wild to believe.

"Almost Holy," a dark look at another aspect of the fall of the Soviet Union, is the sort of documentary that is almost too wild to believe.

It's the story of Ukrainian pastor Gennadiy Mokhnenko (aka "Pastor Crocodile"). Mokhnenko's approach to a rampant drug problem in the city of Mariupol comprises the makings of a wild tale.

Mokhnenko founded Pilgrim Republic, a children's rehab center. The very notion that there's a huge need for drug rehabilitation facilities for children gives some indication of the world you see in "Almost Holy."

The methods are more than unorthodox. Mokhnenko has forcibly abducted drug-addicted children living on the streets. He's engaged in vigilante justice, as he implores one man, "Sasha, don't make me sin."

The depths of depravity here are hard to watch. Seeing children ravaged by opiate addiction is, pardon the pun, a sobering sight, and the filmmakers take us pretty deep into this world.

Director Steve Hoover, who followed Mokhnenko for years, also presents a portrait of a Ukraine in the midst of political turmoil. The methods employed by Pilgrim seem unusual - "Sometimes it's like prison; sometimes it's like hospital; sometimes it's like police," says the pastor - though they are taking place in a country governed by officials apparently unwilling or unable to address the problem.

"Almost Holy" is bleak, but ultimately hopeful, and wholly fascinating. Documentary fans should take note.