S2S Goes to the Movies: ‘Machine Gun Preacher’

    Gerard Butler is taking an unorthodox approach to saving children in Sudan in Machine Gun Preacher.

    Marc Forster, the man who directed Monster’s Ball and Halle Berry to Oscar gold, is back with his latest film Machine Gun Preacher, starring Gerard Butler and Michelle Monaghan. Machine Gun Preacher is the real-life story of ex-con Sam Childers, who finds God and dedicates his life to protecting Sudanese kids in war-torn East Africa.

    Gerald, who shot up to the A List after headlining in 300, stars in Machine Gun Preacher as Sam. The film opens with a young Sudanese boy, no more then 10 years old, who is forced to kill his mother in front of his younger brother by the menacing, ruthless leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), Joseph Kony.

    From there, the story travels back a few years to rural Pennsylvania, where Sam has just been let out of prison. After his release, he immediately gets back to drugs and raising hell until one night, after almost killing a man, his
    life flashes before him. He then decides to get baptized, turning his troubled life over to God.

    Months later after hearing a guest preacher at his church speaking about the missionary work he is doing over in Uganda, Sam is inspired and heads over to East Africa to get involved. While he is there, he witnesses first-hand kids being killed, abused, and forced to be solders in the ruthless LRA army. Sam, with his own money, decides to build a church and shelter for hundreds of kids right in the middle of civil war territory in  Sudan.

    The film is heartbreaking at times, but it brings awareness to what is still going on today in parts of Sudan and Uganda: People are starving; kids are being killed or forced to be young soldiers, or they’re being sold off as sex slaves. Their lives are already being chosen for them before they are old enough to choose a life for themselves. The film serves unintentionally as a reminder that despite our many issues in the United States of America, it is still the best country to live in.

    Aside from some questions that were never fully answered in the film, we appreciated the ambitious attempt to tackle a challenging story such as this one is.

    Like in Monster’s Ball, Marc has proven that he likes to take on controversial stories that most people would rather not want to shed light on.

    It is indeed a complex role for Gerard, as Sam is always deeply conflicted even after turning his life around. Playing a real person on-screen, who is still living is always challenging; and, in many ways, the performance is always up for a critique especially from people who know Sam in real life.

    We respect Gerard for attempting to tackle his subject and this subject matter. We predict that he will be rewarded for his performance during the upcoming award season next year.

    Grade: B




    —Datari Turner




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