MY MOVIE REVIEWS - Machine Gun Preacher

So last night I watched the movie "Machine Gun Preacher", starring Scotland-born Gerard Butler as 'Sam Childers' and American-born Michelle Monaghan as his wife, Lynn Childers, and West-African-born Souleymane Sy Savane as 'Deng'.

The movie wasn't a bad movie and the story behind it was not only true but amazing. Amazing that one guy, who had a vision, could prosper and survive through the brutal acts of the LRA, The Lord's Resistance Army, a militant cult group operating in northern Uganda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Central African Republic.  In the case of this movie, it was South Sudan.

For those of you who haven't seen it yet...

The Plot (from Wikipedia)
'Sam Childers'
Although the film centers on Childers, it starts off with a scene in South Sudan, where the LRA are attacking a village. This opening scene is placed into context later in the film. Childers was an alcoholic drug-using biker from Pennsylvania. On his release from prison, he finds that his wife has given up her job as a stripper, because she has since become a Christian. Eventually, after almost killing a vagrant the night before, he is persuaded by his wife to go to church with her where he is eventually converted.

'Lynn Chiders'
Later, on a missionary trip to Uganda to build homes for refugees, he asks one of the SPLA soldiers watching over them to take him on a trip to the north, to Sudan. The soldier warns him that it is a war zone, but upon Sam's insistence they go. They arrive at a medical tent in Sudan, as his friend moves off to talk to some people, Sam is roped in by a redheaded female doctor to help lift a lipless Sudanese woman onto the examination table. (That's lipless as in no lips! Terrible scene. Terrible crime.) That night as they lay on their beds at the relief station, they hear noises outside, when they look out Sam and the soldier see large numbers of Sudanese children swarming in to sleep outside the building.

The soldier explains that their parents send them to sleep over there because it is safer than staying in their own village. Sam wakes up the children and gets them to sleep in their room for the night. (I thought this part was great but a bit unrealistic as he wanted ALL the children to sleep in his room and there was just too many of them.  Still, the gesture was touching.) The next day they follow the children back to their village only to find that the LRA burnt it down and killed their parents. Then one of the children runs after his dog and dies upon stepping on a hidden landmine. Sam then decides to build an orphanage for the children of South Sudan. After the orphanage is built, the LRA attack it under cover of night and burn it to the ground. Sam then phones home, telling his wife what happened and that he is giving up. She reminds him that the orphans have been through worse but they have not given up, and that he should not give up and tells him to rebuild the orphanage.

' Deng'
One night after the orphanage has been rebuilt, he and his friends from the SPLA are attacked on the road by the LRA, they manage to chase off the small force of the LRA that attacked them. They then search the area and discover a large group of Sudanese children hiding in a ditch not far from the road, since they can not take all the children in one trip, Sam chooses to take the ones who need medical attention along with a few others on their first trip back to the ophanage. However, upon returning to the spot as quickly as he could, he finds that the LRA burnt those he had left behind. It is from here he leads armed raids to rescue children from the LRA.

My Memorable Movie Scenes:
(These are scenes I took a snapshot of, right off my tv screen!)

When he phones his wife at home to tell her he's giving up.

Then here she is basically telling him to suck it up, start over and move on!

Rebuilding the orphanage a second time around...

Sam teacing them how to play baseball...

A child that got hurt by the LRA...

In the end credits are included in black and white pictures of the real Sam Childers, his wife and his daughter plus his orphanage in Sudan.

Buy the book!
Like I've stated in the beginning, the story behind this movie is amazing and true.  However, portraying this in a movie doesn't always make it just as amazing.  I didn't really like the fact that they depicted him as a drunk who finally found God after stabbing someone... it just seemed like it was lacking more substance. Hardly any emotion was really shown on his part.  And in some parts of the movie he was more like Rambo rather than a brave saviour, but hey! - I love Rambo!  Still it was an admirable effort in bringing to light the child soldiers of the LRA.  The bottom line is - would I watch it again? Yes, I would... just not right away!

Machine Gun Preacher - Trailer

So have YOU seen this movie yet?  What did you think about it?


I gave this movie out of 5

Although I'm not a movie critic, I give my honest opinion on a movie I've recently watched.  If it's a movie that can actually make me forget for a moment that it IS a movie, then to me it is worthy of some praise.  I love to watch mostly action/adventure, true stories, crime/drama, thrillers and the occasional comedy.

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