Relativity Media, Virgin Produced, Apparatus Productions,
Gerard Butler, Michelle Monaghan, Kathy Baker, Michael Shannon, Madeline Carroll, Souleymane Sy Savane, Grant R. Krause, Reavis Graham
Sam Childers (Gerard Butler) is a bit of a tough guy. He’s frequently in trouble and as the movie opens, he’s just being released from prison. When he gets home, he finds a major change in his family. His stripper wife is no longer working in that profession and has converted to Christianity and is not willing to go back to the way things were. But Sam finds himself in trouble once again in just a short time. But the winds are changing. When Sam finally decides to change his life around, nobody can believe it. He takes a job in construction and straightens up. But wanting to do more, he volunteers to make a missionary journey to Africa and in the process is touched by the torture and murder going on there. Before you know it, he’s built an orphanage and is fighting toe to toe against the war lords that terrorize the people. Sam never does anything half way, and he gets obsessed with his new calling, even to the point of risking his own family back home. Based on the writings of Sam Childers, this film is based on his writings, so it’s at least based on what he sees as the true story.
Butler is pretty good as Sam Childers. He’s pretty good as the bad ass, drug dealing, hard guy in the beginning. He’s also convincing as the fearless defender of his schools and of the little kids of Sudan. He does a decent job of showing the compassion and caring for the kids he adopts as his own. This is Sam’s story, in his own words, and therefore Gerard, who plays Sam, is the focus of the film. This doesn’t leave a lot of room for everyone else to shine here. This is a pretty good story, but there are a lot of ways that it could have been better. But I guess some of what I feel are weaknesses in the film, may be due to the weaknesses in the real story. I’m not convinced that Sam’s ways are the best ways to accomplish what he wants to do. He becomes so focused that he adopts a sort of ruthless stubbornness that doesn’t always suit. Perhaps that’s why it’s been so hard to get help from anyone else. Perhaps he wants to be the lone wolf.
At any rate, it is an interesting story of an interesting guy. It’s got a lot of the background information on the powerful warlords that terrorize and slaughter the people who are simply trying to live. So it’s got a lot of important material, and if you look past some of the grating personality quirks of Sam, you might find it worthwhile to watch. For me, it makes me shrug and say, Ok, that was alright, but it’s not extremely memorable or life changing.
EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog