Machine Gun Preacher
Machine Gun Preacher is based on the true story of Sam Childers, who on his release from prison in 1992 to find that his wife had given up stripping because she’d found Jesus. Not impressed, Sam decides to go back to his old ways and hooks up with his junkie mate Donnie, even helping him rob a drug house. Of course, during one of their nights out, Sam thinks he kills a man, and when his wife finds him cleaning blood off his clothes, she somehow persuades him to go to church with here, where he too finds Jesus.
A while later a visiting Ugandan missionary speaks at there church and Sam decides to visit Uganda. Whilst there Sam meets a Sudanese freedom fighter who take Sam to show him what’s happening in Sudan.
Sam instantly sees a need and finds his calling in life, Setting up an orphanage to help these little victims of civil war.
The problem is that saving these children soon becomes Sam’s only focus to the detriment of his wife and daughter. At one point Same meets an aid worker in Uganda and she accuses Same of being nothing more than a mercenary due to his willingness to take up arms in his struggle against the Lord’s Resistance Army.
Sam always denies this, but for an apparent man of faith, gives little credit to God, or surprisingly seems unable to ask God for help in his endeavors. During the credits we get to see the real Sam Childers, hip firing a shotgun and then offering up a challenging question, that may give you pause for though, but only adds considerable weigh to the aid workers accusation that Sam is in fact a mercenary.
Gerard Butler does a great job of portraying mercenary preacher Sam and Marc Forster’s directing keeps the film moving along. The real problem is that the whole story doesn’t seem to be present. Forster does a great job at nailing a good number of important scenes, but fails to provide the background to make these scenes plausible.
The story is a timely reminder of what’s happening in Africa, and there is no doubt that Sam has manages to save a good number of children, but Machine Gun Preacher does little to make us want to take up Childers cause.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read