|Status: NOW ON DVD
Director: Marc Forster
Running time: 123 minutes
Sam Childers is no typical evangelist. This biker-turned-missionary delivers humanitarian fire and brimstone from the barrel of an AK-47. Director Marc Forster — whose credits include Monster’s Ball, Finding Neverland and The Kite Runner — teams up with Gerard Butler to tell the phenomenal real-life story of a Pennsylvania ex-con who parleyed his aggression into a force for good, opening an orphanage for the war-ravaged children of Sudan.
Sam (Butler) checks out of prison and is initially displeased to learn that his wife Lynn (Michelle Monaghan), a former stripper, found a new job and committed herself to the church in his absence. But when old bad habits bring new consequences, Sam’s guilt and fear lead him to religion as well. He vows to support Lynn and their daughter Paige (Madeline Carroll), eventually establishing a successful construction business.
After hearing a speech about the war in Sudan one Sunday at church, Sam decides to lend a hammer to the missionary effort himself. Moved by the pitiless bloodshed he witnesses on his first trip to Africa, he returns to Pennsylvania with a vision: to build a home in Sudan for the destitute orphans of war. However, as he invests himself more deeply in the protection of Sudanese youth, his lethal brand of charitable vigilantism threatens both his life and his sanity.
Butler gives a tour-de-force performance as a man fighting the most vicious of warlords and his own, equally ruthless inner demons. The combat sequences allow Butler to channel his action-hero bravura, while Sam’s interactions with the kids expose the actor’s thoughtful, tender side. Supporting roles from Monaghan and Michael Shannon (also appearing at the Festival in Take Shelter), as Sam’s reckless best friend, add depth to this formidable tale. A proven expert at both gripping character studies and epic shoot-’em-ups, Forster ably balances his intense interpretation of Sam with the wider implications of the Sudanese civil war.
Sometimes gruesome in its explicit portrayal of children at war, Machine Gun Preacher is an unflinching examination of the power — and danger — of human ambition.
Gerard Butler…Sam Childers
Michelle Monaghan…Lynn Childers
Madeline Carroll…Paige Childers
Souleymane Sy Savane…Deng
Director: Marc Foster
Screenplay: Jason Keller
Producers: Marc Forster, Robbie Brenner; Gary Safady and Craig Chapman of Kaushi Entertainment; and Deborah Giarratana of GG Filmz.
Executive Producers: Myles Nestel of Merlina Entertainment, Brad Simpson of Apparatus, Gerard Butler, Alan Siegel and Louise Rosner.
September 23, 2011 – Limited Release in NY and LA
September 30, 2011 – Limited Release in select USA theaters. Visit the official website for list of theaters.
A true story based on Childers’ memoir Another Man’s War: The True Story of One Man’s Battle to Save Children in the Sudan.
Filming was in Detroit, Michigan and South Africa.
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