December 31, 2013.

This blog is now closed. After three years and 311 posts, I have decided to end this blog. I have enjoyed watching the films, reviewing them, and interacting with global readers.

If you are interested in contacting me, you can do so by commenting on any of the posts. The blog will remain live on the web.
Thank you to all the readers for your comments, ideas, and thoughts. They were helpful, stimulating, and enriching. This is Alene, signing off.

May 18, 2013

Machine Gun Preacher (2011)

When it’s over, this isn't a date movie. The film is based on the real life of Sam Childers (Gerard Butler), a criminal turned pastor, then turned protector to the children of Sudan, Africa. Violence is a prevalent character in this film, as it mirrors the horrors of civil war in Sudan, but the violence is never gratuitously used. The film’s title suggests a Rambo like vengeance rampage type of film, but do not be mistaken, because although it has the guns and flying bullets, it also has a meaningful story that leaves you feeling inspired, teary, and unsettled. This is one of Butler’s better performances of late. He may not resemble the real life Childers, but he captures the man’s spirit wonderfully, thanks to the skillful direction of Marc Foster. With a resume to include acclaimed films such as Kite Runner, Stranger Than Fiction, Quantum of Solace, Monster's Ball, and Finding Neverland, Foster is a director that commands respect. He is brilliant at bringing out the humanity in the most complex characters, and in this case, the multi-layered Childers whose personal struggles continue to test his faith in Jesus Christ. It is hard not to compare this film to Hotel Rwanda, since they are similar in how the main characters emotionally confront genocide, and how they offer safety to the oppressed. I think what separates the two is the execution of their beliefs. MGP has a bravado feel to it, whereas HR possesses silent strength and heroism. MGP is a good film, but not great. It's biggest flaw is its weak supporting cast - Childer's wife and daughter, Lynn (Michelle Monaghan) and Paige (Madeline Carroll), who play crucial roles in motivating Childer's actions. I think the film should have given more screen time to these two characters, or at least strengthen the scenes they are already in. Perhaps a scene that shows Lynn visiting Sudan in support of her husband when Childers is on the verge of giving up; or scenes that show Paige aiding in her father's dream, such as fundraising or writing letters or regular phone calls to express her love and support. These could have all been powerful scenes to strengthen character motivations and instill greater emotional pull.

My rating: 3.5 out of 5

1 comment:

  1. I haven't encountered any copyright infringement issues on my blog. I'm not sure if there is any "real" method against web content being stolen. I suppose when we publish online, there is always the risk of content being used elsewhere without our permission, but that is a risk writers/artists take when they provide it free to the world.