Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Machine Gun Preacher (2011)

Directed by:  Marc Forster
Starring: Gerard Butler, Michelle Monaghan, Michael Shannon

Machine Gun Preacher is a biopic about a man named Sam Childers (Gerard Butler.)  Once a drug-dealing outlaw biker who spent years in prison, Sam finds God and turns his life around. Actually, saying that he turned his life around would be an understatement. Using his carpentry skills, Sam forms a construction company. He uses his construction company to build a church in his community for people like him who want to better their lives; Sam unintentionally becomes the Pastor of the church.  On a church mission to Africa, Sam learns of the horrors brought on the people of Northern Uganda and Southern Sudan by Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA.) Vowing to make a difference, Sam uses his construction resources and his own money to finance and build an orphanage in a remote area of Southern Sudan. The moniker of "Machine Gun Preacher" is given to Sam as he also grabs an AK-47 and joins the Sudanese People's Liberation Army to fight the enemy and help free child slaves from the grips of Joseph Kony.

Director Mark Forster, known for powerful films like Monster's Ball (2001) and The Kite Runner (2007), tells a compelling story about one man's impact on a nation. The narrative of the film does not over indulge in the (real-life) violence of the matter, but keeps the viewer interested in the plot by revealing a real-life issue that is drastically affecting the world we live in. Instead of over-emphasizing on the "preaching" of Sam's religious sermons, Gerard Butler instead focuses his character on a man who wants to make the world he lives in a better place because he believes it is his purpose in life and God's will.

With the exception of a few character's such as Sam's mother, Daisy (Kathy Baker), his wife, Lynn (stoically played by Michelle Monaghan), and his drugged-out best friend, Donnie (Michael Shannon), this film features a relatively unknown cast; however, the acting of all parties involved is spectacular.  After starring in romantic-comedy flops like The Ugly Truth (2009) and The Bounty Hunter (2010), Gerard Butler has redeemed himself as the rough-and-tumble action star that he was born to play.

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