God Gave Him a Purpose
After coming out of prison Sam Childers (Gerard Butler) returns home expecting things to be exactly how they were and is not at all happy when his wife Lynn (Michelle Monaghan) tells him she quit stripping as she has found religion. Whilst Sam slips in to his old ways he has an epiphany and he also finds religion, turning over a new leaf and trying to help those who he once ran with. It is during a church service he hears that they need missionaries and helpers in Sudan and with his skills in construction heads out there to offer his services for a short while. It is whilst there he not only has his eyes opened up to the violence but also the plight of the orphan children and sets about helping them including those who have been.
Let me start a bit off on a tangent but I have watched quite a few movies about people who have had an epiphany, changed their ways and gone on to make a huge difference in the lives of others. The thing is that many of those movies were made as TV movies and as such didn't have the time or money spent on them as big screen movies have. I say this partly to highlight that "Machine Gun Preacher" could just as easily have ended up a TV movie especially as these types of story rarely make it to the big screen with big screen stars. So for those who are interested in watching other inspirational movies I suggest taking a look at the TV movie genre as whilst there are those movies which are poor there are those who have the power to inspire.
Anyway back to "Machine Gun Preacher" a movie which I am sure many people went to watch totally unaware of what it was about and under the impression that it was purely a Gerard Butler action movie. I wouldn't be surprised if many of those walked out once the subject of religion and the mention of God is mentioned which would be a shame as whilst I would never say that "Machine Gun Preacher" is a great movie it is entertaining, informative, moving and motivational to the point that even if the religious side of the movie annoys you the look at the plight in Sudan and the suffering going on will move you more than anything else in this movie will anger you.
As for the acting well this is the Gerard Butler show and he ends up absolutely perfect for the role. Early on he has the growl and the look of a criminal down perfectly but the transformation the energy and invigoration he has doing Christ's work, that sense of passion is inspiring. But of course there is also the action side and Butler has the look and power to be just as convincing. In fact I can't think of another actor who could have brought all the layers which the character of Childers needs.
Now some might think what is he on about and I will say now that I am a reviewer who won't tell you everything and there is more to this movie than I mentioned, a darker side of a man who becomes obsessed and who finds himself battling his own demons by taking it out on others.
What this all boils down to is that "Machine Gun Preacher" is not going to be for everyone due to the story but when you give it a chance it manages to do everything from inform to entertain and also inspire which is its biggest gift. But it does feature that darker side which might shock people.