Machine Gun Preacher

This is a tough film to sell because our "Machine Gun Preacher" was a violent person in the opening scenes. I know there are many movie goers who would be inspired by this film but they will have to endure that first half hour. I guess you can't see what our hero has become until you see what he has been, so this R-rated film contains gunfire, disturbing images, drug use and lots of profanity.

Real-life Sam Childers served as the consultant, which is a fictionalized account of his headstrong, passionate and unusual life. Childers was a biker, a felon, and a drug-dealing addict who became a Christian cru- sader dedicated to saving hundreds of children in the Sudan who, if they were lucky enough to survive, have been handed AK 47s and forced to serve as soldiers. His mission to save children is no longer limited to one country. He has centers in several African countries, plus in the United States. (Google Sam Childers) I hasten to emphasize, Childers' endeavors are humanitarian, NOT religious. He says, "You don't ask a hungry child who he worships."

These actors portray real people:
  • Gerard Butler ("Phantom of the Opera") is Childers. Butler does a masterful job showing us the arc of Sam's early violent life followed by his conversion to Christ, and then his rage at the treatment of the children in the Sudan.
  • Michelle Monaghan ("Source Code") plays his wife, a former stripper named Lynn, who, in my opinion, is truly Sam's anchor. Without Lynn's tough love and staunch support, his efforts would have collapsed long ago.
  • Kathy Baker ("Seven Days in Utopia") is Daisy, the ever-lovin' Mama who swapped the gun in Sam's belt for a Bible....
  • Michael Shannon ("Revolutionary Road") is Donnie, the ne'er-do-well brother who can't seem to get his bearings. This Oscar-nominated actor is so good it's spooky.
Director Marc Forster ("The Kite Runner") knows how to work with children so we know this inspiring story is in good hands. Script writer Jason Keller spent a year traveling with Childers and accumulating stories from his legendary life. This script compresses about 30 exciting years into a two-hour movie.

In the Q & A after the screening, it was obvious that not only is Sam articulate and passionate about his work, but scriptwriter Keller too, has become evangelistic about helping the innocent victims of this senseless slaughter.

* * * * * * * * * * * *
This trailer starts after a brief ad.
* * * * * * * * * * * *