Today marked only the second time I have gone to a screening of a film held by the movie studio; this time the film is already out in select theaters so my thought process leads me to believe that the studio is holding free screenings in order to generate better word of mouth reviews.
Machine Gun Preacher sounds like it should be directed by Robert Rodriguez as part of another Grindhouse film collection. However, Machine Gun Preacher is based on the true life story of Sam Childers. Sam, a former druggie/criminal, finds God and realizes he has a purpose in life: to save the children of East Africa. The film chronicles his struggle to build an orphanage against the continuous attacks of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). During his journey, Sam is forced to balance his fight to end the terror of the LRA and keeping his family intact.
Gerard Butler stars as Sam and while I was originally confused by the choice over the course of the 2 hour running time he becomes Sam. I would confirm that this is his strongest performance to date, but honestly there isn’t much to compare it to in terms of Academy Award caliber. While I enjoyed his performance, I couldn’t help but feel like he was playing Russell Crowe playing Sam Childers.
The film is powerful to say the least. The depiction of how a country can be terrorized by a man and an army is very disturbing. Families are murdered in front of their children and the children are kidnapped and forced into a world where killing is the only option. Honestly, I don’t know how anyone could stand by and let the LRA continue to reign terror on Africa. I understand that there are diplomatic issues, but you’d think the USA could round up some of their best criminals and send them over to kill the sons of bitches. Just my opinion.
Overall Grade: C