Tintin 3D

He may not look the same, but this Tintin is as ex-quiff-itely fun as ever.

Bond 23: Skyfall

Casting news. Press conference reports. On set photos. Plus a video clip of Ben Whishaw saying "Moneypenny".

In Time

Omega load of nonsense, but this is a fun watch.

Tower Heist

By the halfway point, you'll wish they made Towering Inferno instead.

The Awakening

A classic haunted house tale that packs emotion and chills aplenty into 107 tense minutes.


It’s Before Sunrise. But with two blokes. In Nottingham. A superb slice of contemporary cinema.

Machine Gun Preacher

An interesting tale of philanthropy that strays too often from the straight and narrow.

Johnny English Reborn

It's lazy and obvious - but at least it's better than Quantum of Solace.

2011 BIFA Nominations

The British Indepedent Film Awards expect people to choose between Shame, Tyrannosaur and Tinker, Tailor. HOW? IT'S IMPOSSIBLE.

The Ides of March

When it comes to award-worthy class and political tension, The Ides most definitely has it.


Never has a game of spot the stiff been this fun. You'll enjoy it so much you'll have to wash your hands afterwards.

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Star Ratings

Well good


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Home Reviews Cinema Review: Machine Gun Preacher
Review: Machine Gun Preacher Print E-mail
Written by Selina Pearson   
Wednesday, 02 November 2011 07:39
Machine Gun Preacher film review - Gerard Butler
Director: Marc Forster
Cast: Gerard Butler, Michelle Monaghan, Michael Shannon
Certificate: 15

Sam Childers (Butler) is a big hairy biker who returns from prison to his wife Lynn (Monaghan), bent on continuing his wicked ways. He starts by berating her for quitting her job as a stripper. She’s found Jesus instead - and the Lord don't like women taking their clothes off. Then Sam carries on taking drugs, drinking and beating people up with his best bud, Donnie (Shannon).

Eventually, something gives and Sam decides to go straight. Lynn introduces him to Jesus, and you know what? He sells his motorbike, sobers up, and starts his own building business just in time for hurricane season. Does it feel contrived? A bit. It is based on real events? Actually, yes, that too.

Childers is inspired to go to Sudan to help rebuild stuff and be all philanthropic. After much doing of good, he heads to the south where the LRA, a bunch of religious zealots with a blind spot for human rights, are holding the countryside to ransom - mostly with child soldiers. And so Sam tries to round up lost kids and build them an orphanage where they can be safe.

At the same time, he builds a church back in hick-town Pennsylvania, where he inadvertently becomes a preacher as well (this is important). Then, the Sudanese civil war arrives. Did we mention the fact that he has a rather convenient fondness for firearms?

Childers’ double life soon takes its toll on him and on the film. There's a very jarring clash between Sam’s life in the States, where he begs his bank for another loan for a truck, and the utter desperation we witness in Sudan. While the Sudanese segments are engrossing and at times moving, shots of Sam shouting at his congregation just disrupt the narrative. Is it meant to highlight the relative luxury of the first world? Probably, but the film doesn't do it very well: the pace is uneven and the passing of time poorly depicted, making it all-too-easy to get lost somewhere in the story's eight-year timeframe.

The movie ends with a strong humanitarian message, which keeps things nice and wholesome. It's reassuring to see that faith can drive people to such altruistic callings. But when the foreign aid point is occasionally rammed down your throat, it can get a bit irritating. Even if that's to your taste, though, that doesn't justify the two-hour plus runtime. Machine Gun Preacher is provocative, but it's mostly just long.


It's not quite Sudanese Rambo, but Machine Gun Preacher is an interesting tale of philanthropy. It just strays too often from the straight and narrow.



What did you think of the film?

( 1 Vote )



  • gerard butler
  • machine gun preacher
  • marc forster
  • michael shannon
  • michelle monaghan

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