Sam has just been released from prison, yet in a matter of hours he returns to his old ways of heavy drinking and drug use with his biker-gang buddies. After a life-changing event in which he devotes his life to god, Sam makes the decision to go to Sudan to help repair homes destroyed by the civil war. While there Sam sees the unimaginable horrors caused by Kony, pledging to do whatever it takes to help as many of the kids and their families as possible. Based on actual events, Marc Forster's Machine Gun Preacher is an interesting story about one man's sacrifices to try and do what is right. Early in the film, Sam's transformation from a mean spirited hateful human being to someone who devotes himself to god happens far too fast. I understand the need to get to the meat of the story but it's quite important to see this gradual change in Sam. Sam becomes a man who has alienated his family and friends back home because of his cause, and while the film touches on these topics it does so in an unconvincing and not-so subtle way. Really this is a problem with the entire film in that it isn't particularly nuanced or subtle in the slightest, though there is no denying its poignancy in giving the viewer a vivid image of what is going on in Sudan and Uganda. Machine Gun Preacher also has quite a few cringe-worthy cliche moments (the racist bikers at the bar, the little child's lesson to Sam, etc) as well as a few unnecessary characters, particularly the humanitarian woman who essentially tells Sam he is no better than Kony cause he uses guns.. which was laughable bullshit. It seems as if the film itself isn't entirely sure how much of a hero Sam is, which at times makes the whole thing feel a little too bipolar. This film is not nearly as bad as the reviews would suggest, and while it lacks nuance, it clearly achieves it's primary goal of showing the atrocities in East Africa.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.