“Machine Gun Preacher”



Filed under : Movie Reviews

by Leanna

The biographical true story, “Machine Gun Preacher,” came out on June 5th. The film tells the story of Sam Childers, a drug addicted criminal who finds Jesus and builds an orphanage in South Sudan. While helping the people there, Childers becomes outraged at the atrocities being committed by the Lord’s Resistance Army, who are terrorizing southern Sudan and northern Uganda. Sam works with local freedom fighters and takes the battle to the LRA while rescuing children that they have abducted.

Despite the extremely limited release of the film (just 93 theaters in the United States), it has none of the low budget quality that is sometimes associated with such films. It stars Gerard Butler and Michelle Monaghan. The film was directed and produced by Marc Foster. Foster’s previous films include “Quantum Of Solace,” the 2008 installment of the James Bond franchise. The film is rated R for violent content including disturbing images, language, some drug use, and a scene of sexuality.

“Machine Gun Preacher” is powerful and unforgettable. Not just a biography, it’s a message to the audience to “wake up” (as Sam says in a sermon) to the evil in the world and take action. The film bounces back and forth between Sam’s work in Sudan, and his life at home in Pennsylvania. The contrast between the two standards of living is striking, and filmmakers surely emphasized it to impact viewers. Members of Sam’s community back home are reluctant to donate money to help his mission since the economy is so tight. However, Sam is literally fighting for the lives of children, and he begins to loathe the respectively luxurious lifestyle that we so take for granted. The film should motivate viewers to help those in need, but it’s not overly preachy. Meaning, it is still an entertaining film, and doesn’t make the audience feel too guilty to watch.

Butler’s performance is strong, especially once Sam embraces the cause in Sudan. He portrays Sam’s anger there exceptionally well. The biggest setback of the film is the lack of emotional depth portrayed as Sam hits rock bottom and decides to embrace Christianity. His rough lifestyle is conveyed poignantly, but the film doesn’t capture the true change in Sam’s heart. The conversion just seems to happen so quickly that it doesn’t feel genuine to the audience. The contrast between his life before his baptism and after, in respect to how he treats others and his family, is the primary way in which his faith is demonstrated. It seems the passage of time may be a factor in this disconnect. It’s not super clear how long this process is taking, and the time between scenes is surely supposed to be longer that it seems. Filmmakers use Sam’s daughter as the only mark of time, using different actresses to show her growing up. Regardless of this deficit, the film recovers quickly, and Sam’s life once he reaches the Sudan is really the main focus.

“Machine Gun Preacher” is touching and haunting. It’s simply a must-see.

Fans of biographical true stories can look forward to “Machine Gun Preacher” this week. The film tells the story of Sam Childers, a drug addicted criminal who finds Jesus and builds an orphanage in South Sudan. While helping the people there, Childers becomes outraged at the atrocities being committed by the Lord’s Resistance Army, who are terrorizing southern Sudan and northern Uganda. Sam works with local freedom fighters and takes the battle to the LRA while rescuing children that they have abducted.

Despite the extremely limited release of the film (just 93 theaters in the United States), it has none of the low budget quality that is sometimes associated with such films. It stars Gerard Butler and Michelle Monaghan. The film was directed and produced by Marc Foster. Foster’s previous films include “Quantum Of Solace,” the 2008 installment of the James Bond franchise. The film is rated R for violent content including disturbing images, language, some drug use, and a scene of sexuality.

“Machine Gun Preacher” is powerful and unforgettable. Not just a biography, it’s a message to the audience to “wake up” (as Sam says in a sermon) to the evil in the world and take action. The film bounces back and forth between Sam’s work in Sudan, and his life at home in Pennsylvania. The contrast between the two standards of living is striking, and filmmakers surely emphasized it to impact viewers. Members of Sam’s community back home are reluctant to donate money to help his mission since the economy is so tight. However, Sam is literally fighting for the lives of children, and he begins to loathe the respectively luxurious lifestyle that we so take for granted. The film should motivate viewers to help those in need, but it’s not overly preachy. Meaning, it is still an entertaining film, and doesn’t make the audience feel too guilty to watch.

Butler’s performance is strong, especially once Sam embraces the cause in Sudan. He portrays Sam’s anger there exceptionally well. The biggest setback of the film is the lack of emotional depth portrayed as Sam hits rock bottom and decides to embrace Christianity. His rough lifestyle is conveyed poignantly, but the film doesn’t capture the true change in Sam’s heart. The conversion just seems to happen so quickly that it doesn’t feel genuine to the audience. The contrast between his life before his baptism and after, in respect to how he treats others and his family, is the primary way in which his faith is demonstrated. It seems the passage of time may be a factor in this disconnect. It’s not super clear how long this process is taking, and the time between scenes is surely supposed to be longer that it seems. Filmmakers use Sam’s daughter as the only mark of time, using different actresses to show her growing up. Regardless of this deficit, the film recovers quickly, and Sam’s life once he reaches the Sudan is really the main focus.

“Machine Gun Preacher” is touching and haunting. It’s simply a must-see.

3.5 popcorn kernels

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