American Sniper [Spoilers]: follows the life of America’s deadliest sniper from childhood hunting and adolescent rodeos through four tours (+1,000 days) in the Iraq war. Unsurprisingly, this film boasts typical Eastwood directing hallmarks; it’s taut, oppressive, fairly downbeat, and contains superfluous racism; told with no-frills direction or distractions from the story, which is heavily centered around emotions and individuals. The one thing that’s most problematic – at least to foreign audiences – is the cheesy portrayal of Kyle’s blindly patriotic all-Americanism, and although it’s not a particularly glamorous account, the film feels like a glorified highlight reel of a war and sniping ‘legend’. Even the ending – after showing Chris Kyle graphically kill dozens of men, women, and children, and mention 100s more – the film couldn’t even show his fate, at the other end of the barrel. The biggest reason to watch this is Bradley Cooper’s magnetic performance, showing the highs and lows of being a famous/infamous killing machine. All things considered, American Sniper comes out as somewhat mediocre; it tries to show a fresh – personal – perspective of the effects of war, but uses the full range of war film clichés like the worried wife, absent father, soon-to-be-married guy getting his shit ruined, and a crow-barred-in big action finale; which is poorly shot and difficult to follow. If you have the time to spare something like Generation Kill (which this references at least a couple of times) is a far more effective, balanced and entertaining way of seeing America’s role in the Iraq war.
Also thought this one had some good moments, but far too many unncessary elements. For example I didn’t like the rival sniper constantly returning. Like the story needed a villain, which wasn’t necessary.
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Totally agree, the same with ‘The Butcher’ character too -kept popping up as a reason for him to do another tour, even though it was supposed to be about War in general. It just made me really, really want to re-watch Generation Kill.
Very good point about the ending. But I broadly agree with you – I was very uncomfortable throughout. It just didn’t seem right celebrating a legend of the “sniping” fraternity. And the overt patriotism was distracting – I can understand its relevance but I’m not sure the film can play successfully to any audiences who a) don’t follow a similar political ideology and b) aren’t American.
Yea, I just thought it was funny that we’d seen dozens of fairly graphic deaths of kids and women, but they couldn’t show you ANY depiction of the hero being shot. Bit hypocritical if you ask me.
I love proper ‘sniper’ films, but this one was more interested in the ‘support our troups’ angle, it just happened to be a sniper that had the story Eastwood wanted. Very flag waving. I think my favourite scene for parody was when he saw the 9/11 attacks on TV and Cooper was trying his best to channel the crazy “OMFG THEY’VE ATTACKED MY GODDAMNED COUNTRY – MOTHER OF GOD – BELOVED MURICA!!!” vibe.