Cert: 15 Runtime: 132 mins Director: Clint Eastwood Cast: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller and Kyle Gallner
If you think that this war isn’t changing you you’re wrong. You can only circle the flames so long.
American Sniper caught everyone by surprise this year, two major Academy Award nominations in best picture and actor. It has also caused some controversy, I have seen a lot of hateful social media towards Muslims since it’s release. I’ve found this disgusting and beyond the point of this film. I decided not to watch this for a few weeks due to the issues and watch it with a clear mind. What is American Sniper about? Having been raised by a religious father who impressed upon him the importance of fighting evil, Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) signs up for brutal Navy SEAL training. He’s quickly shipped off to Fallujah, where his role as a marksman is to protect his brothers-in-arms. It’s a nerve-shredding task, requiring him to make split-second distinctions between civilians and enemy combatants. Such is Chris’s skill and pinpoint accuracy that he saves countless lives and earns the nickname ‘Legend’. But this also means that insurgents soon put a price on his head.Even if this were not based on a true story, if Chris Kyle had been a fictional character, I do not feel the film did enough to investigate him. There was the scene that from his childhood where his father told him that in that family they did not raise sheep or wolves, but rather sheepdogs. This was our evidence that Kyle had a savior complex, but I don’t think it was enough. There was the scene, again as a kid, where Kyle’s dad praises his son’s take down of a deer and that he had a special talent.
Again, not enough depth to explain what made Kyle ticked. Instead we have four tours of duty played out in full and monotonous detail. I became more invested when Kyle was between tours and back home, trying to fit into life. If these tours were used more as flashbacks and related more through comparison and contrast into that “ordinary” life a better pacing would have been achieved.I read that Steven Spielberg had almost made this move and that he had taken a slightly different approach as an entry point. He would have brought the enemy sniper more into focus. Showing that the two snipers were two sides of the same coin and that perhaps war isn’t about good and evil or if it is, it is from the vantage of where you stand. Maybe this would have been too similar to Enemy at the Gates, I’m not sure. I do think it would have made the movie more interesting for me at least.I do know several people that liked this movie. People that are reasonable and intelligent and who hold opinions that I would usually consider. For me, even with a worthy performance from Bradley Copper, the movie was too one dimensional and for that I would not be fast in recommending it.