Machine Gun Preacher Blu-ray Review
Based on actual events that are continuing on today, MACHINE GUN PREACHER follows one man’s calling to help a people in need. Drawing attention to the terrible and needless slaughtering of innocent people and children currently occurring in Africa, the film is tough to swallow but also extremely important for its awareness.
Recently released from prison, Sam Childers (Gerard Butler) heads directly back to his life of drugs and crime. One thing has changed though, his wife and little girl have found Jesus. Seemingly a minor difference as Sam is not deterred by the opposed choice for his family, Sam along with his friend Donnie (Michael Shannon), dive deeper into their corrupt lives. Until finally hitting rock bottom, covered in blood and hunched over a toilet, Sam helplessly looks at his wife and simply says, “help me.” The change is both noticeable and believable, as Sam visits church unsure of the decision he is about to make to give his life to the Lord and accept Christ into his heart.
The family continues their involvement with church and after time, his daughter now a young teenager, Sam feels a calling from the Lord to use his building skills in Africa. This act of kindness leads Sam to witness a much greater problem in the form of Uganda’s current Civil War. Led by the evil cult leader Joseph Kony (you may be familiar with the “Kony 2012” youtube video campaign), The Lord’s Resistance Army has been burning villages, murdering families and stripping children from their homes to join their cause. Sam cannot sit idly by and decides to raise help and money to build an orphanage as a safe haven for the Sudanese refugee children in the middle of this war. Applying his knowledge from his past life, Sam fights back to defend the kids by any means necessary garnering the nickname MACHINE GUN PREACHER.
The success of balancing faith without being too preachy is undeniably important to the film. Upcoming WORLD WAR Z director, Marc Forster, masterfully achieves this by being as truthful and honest when telling the story. With such great films as FINDING NEVERLAND, STRANGER THAN FICTION and QUANTUM OF SOLACE, Forster has discovered a style that changes with each film, following the character’s plight over any dazzling camera techniques. Sam Childers is clearly a flawed man. Gerard Butler plays every horrifying angry moment of pride and stubbornness with intimidating cruelty but is also able to turn around and provide selfless kindness. As a refreshing example of a Christian man, his actions do not say he is better than others but rather admits that he is a sinner. Unable to be with his wife and daughter, the desires of wanting to do the right thing conflicts with his home life and his mission in another continent. Like all men, at times, his corrupt attitude from his old life creeps in and his frustrations get the best of him. Sam’s singular focus on his work walks the line of becoming what he fights against but what he fights for is something even the worst of us can believe in.
In one of the more touching moments, Sam calls home to explain that the Resistance has destroyed all the work they’ve done so far. Rather than expressing her own selfish yearning for her husband to come home, Sam’s wife Lynn (wonderfully portrayed by Michelle Monaghan) supports and encourages him to be persistent in his convictions, trust in the Lord and rebuild.
The film is rated R so while I believe the story is something all should see, I must warn you to proceed with caution. As a Christian, I found MACHINE GUN PREACHER an inspiring and uplifting story about faith and courage. Debating the proper way to serve God’s work, the film touches on similar themes as the emotionally thought provoking THE MISSION. Personally, the film sparked a flame inside me, opening my eyes to an atrocious tragedy and reminded me that certain jobs are called upon for certain people. Will you answer that call?
Video: (1080p 2.40:1) Purposely shot with a grainy quality, MACHINE GUN PREACHER tries to capture the raw life in Africa and experienced by Sam Childers
Audio: (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) MACHINE GUN PREACHER picks up all the action nicely while balancing the clear spoken dialogue.
Machine Gun Preacher – A Discussion with Marc Forster (18:36): A candid interview about the film and Sam Childers’ reaction to it.
Making the Music for Machine Gun Preacher (14:00): This talks about the process in finding the right musical tone for each scene of the film.
“The Keeper” Music Video by Chris Cornell (3:46) Personally I love Cornell’s voice and have been a fan of his from Sound Garden to Audio Slave and especially Temple of the Dog. The song was nominated for a Golden Globe.