DVD Review - Machine Gun Preacher
Written by Jason Keller and directed by Marc Forster (Monster's Ball and Quantum of Solace), this movie tells Childers' journey from rural PA into the war zone of Uganda. Gerard Butler (300 and RocknRolla) plays Childers who I'm not sure I buy as an actor here. Childers starts out as a very bad man and he's supposed to make this turn toward God and the material is there. I just am not convinced that Butler is totally convincing.
Once Childers is in Africa and he sees the horrors, one can't help but also be swept up by it. Childers has to juggle two worlds, one in America and one in Africa, and it becomes how he's pulled from one into the other, as he realizes that that other is more important. The filmmakers here underscore it, but the movie gets bogged down with Childers' financial trouble that they all but ignore the obvious theme that one would naturally deduce from the title.
Childers becomes a Pennsylvania preacher who reinforces the word of God and the Bible. Childers also becomes a freedom fighter in Uganda who yields fire-arms like machine guns and rifles often to kill LRA members. He can preach the Ten Commandments, for example, one day, commandments that include not killing and then go out the next day and get into these crazy gun fights where he kills people. This is not a new idea of a man of faith having to fight a war. It's just odd that it's never a conflict for Childers. It's only briefly addressed as an issue.
Two Stars out of Five.
Rated R for violent content, language, some drug use, and a scene of sexuality.
Running Time: 2 hrs. and 3 mins.