Just watched this. If you haven’t seen it and want to, there are spoilers below. If you haven’t seen it but don’t plan to, change your plans and go watch it. If you have seen it already, feel free to continue reading!
This movie blew my mind. I have always held a heavy interest in child soldiers and the LRA, and this film was just phenomenal. I don’t know why I put off watching it until now. Gerard Butler does an amazing job. I was blown away and actually quite surprised. His portrayal of a heroin addict was gritty and dark. Within the first thirty minutes I was convinced that, if I disliked any character Butler has played, then Sam Childers was the one I disliked the most. The language, especially in the beginning, could peel paint, but it gets better.
In the beginning, I was perplexed as to why I’d never heard about this movie before. I don’t recall it coming out in theaters (2011), at least around here. Get far enough into the movie though, and I realized why I’d never heard it broadly advertised. It is, at heart, a Christian film. And unfortunately Hollywood seems to have a vendetta against such films, even ones as brilliant as Machine Gun Preacher. What a frustrating truth.
I really commend Butler for taking on this project. I think my respect for him grew quite a bit. It is quite heartbreaking at times, but it shows the horrible realities that are currently at work in Sudan.
Family friendly? Absolutely not. This film is rated R for a reason, but don’t let that discourage you. There is nothing gratuitous in here (there’s only one sex scene but it lasts maybe five or ten seconds, there is no nudity, and it is in the very beginning. The language is very harsh, but I’d say it only occurs in maybe 20% of the film. There is violence and tragedy. Children die, and there was one scene where a woman got her lips cut off. It is still a great eye-opening movie though.