I can honestly say I’ve never disliked a Marc Forster picture. The director of Monster’s Ball, Stranger Than Fiction, and Finding Neverland, my personal favorite, returns with a movie that I would probably not see where he not at the helm: Machine Gun Preacher. What sounds like a B-movie is actually an inspirational action flick starring Gerard Butler as a reformed badass who finds his calling in the war-torn areas of Uganda and Sudan.
When ex-biker-gang member Sam Childers (Butler) makes the life-changing decision to go to East Africa to help repair homes destroyed by civil war, he is outraged by the unspeakable horrors faced by the region’s vulnerable populace, especially the children. Ignoring the warnings of more experienced aide workers, Sam breaks ground for an orphanage where it’s most needed in the middle of territory controlled by the brutal Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a renegade militia that forces youngsters to become soldiers before they even reach their teens. But for Sam, it is not enough to shelter the LRA’s intended victims. Determined to save as many as possible, he leads armed missions deep into enemy territory to retrieve kidnapped children, restoring peace to their livesand eventually his own.
Machine Gun Preacher, directed by Marc Forster and starring Gerard Butler, Michelle Monaghan, Michael Shannon, Kathy Baker and Souleymane Sy Savane, premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film opens in New York and LA on Sept. 23.