Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle’s pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield and turns him into a legend. Back home to his wife and kids after four tours of duty, however, Chris finds that it is the war he can’t leave behind.
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Eastwood is too introspective, too multilayered, and too knowing about the backfire from on-screen violence to print the legend of the man Kyle’s awed comrades called “the Legend.” The Chris Kyle of American Sniper, the memoir, is not the Chris Kyle of American Sniper, the movie, which makes for a more interesting—and ultimately more celebratory—portrait of a man who, by his own account, reveled in his work as a flesh-and-blood Predator drone.
The film’s depiction of Iraqis as devious, homicidal or both doesn’t exactly scream sensitivity, and when the Army vows to “put the fear of God into these savages” the film takes that at face value. Yet this is an immensely potent drama – and, despite appearances, not an irresponsible one.
American Sniper is a sleeper, which is to say no one in the movie industry expected it to perform so well at the box office. No less surprising, perhaps, is the film’s skill and conviction—the adroit shifts in time and space, epitomized by an early time-expanding flashback, or the moments of unexpected beauty, as in a sandstorm-shrouded firefight between Kyle’s unit and a group of Iraqi insurgents that occurs late in the film.
"I'm making memories by myself."/Not propaganda. A masterpiece about men, women, war in life/life in war &just how insidious evil really is. No one's an angel in the dirt. People should learn how to read between the lines. Those who know their Ford will see what's this really about. Also Clint's DNA is in every frame. Stellar editing. That last shot foreshadowing his death is the best ending shot of the 21st century.
Not difficult to see why this was (and continues to be) a divisive work, but I would argue the film itself isn't entirely comfortable with all the reasons our culture would celebrate a man like Chris Kyle. Its tone is too somber, its editing too sophisticated to suggest otherwise. Of course, Eastwood excels at action, so there's a thread here that is just a thriller about two god-snipers locked in combat for years.
A near-devastating portrayal of the life of a soldier, both in and out of combat. Haunting and patriotic, riding the line between glorifying and horrifying. It tries to dig a little deeper than most war films, rather than focus wholly on explosions and gunfire - but in the end its efforts and taut performances were overshadowed by internet losers crying "propaganda" (likely because a blogger told them to).
American Sniper was brilliant, and cannot simply be reduced to pro-war propaganda and/or an anti-Iraqi sentiment. To me, this is Clint Eastwood's finest work so far and Bradley Cooper has never been better. I almost gave it 5 stars if it wasn't for the fake plastic baby (oh boy) ...
***1/2. I had the feeling to see Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker once again. With different weapons but the same men lost in a war too complicated for them. Once you begin to think, the war is over for you. Interesting but not essential.
Eastwood's filmmaking has become as dull, reactionary & conservative as his personal politics. His monotonous colour scheme of desert storm beige, archaic approach to coverage & generally unadventurous editing seem only to reinforce the idea that this is a "serious" film. The jingoism, bible thumping & tasteless celebration of a killer for Oscar-bait credibility stinks of the worst kind of propaganda. A hateful film.
This movie was as fake as the baby in Cooper's arms. Although Cooper isn't himself bad in the film, and there are a few great scenes, all in all, this is an awful script, full of shallow character development, wholly predictable and unoriginal. Even though it claims to show the horrors of war, this film still deifies Kyle as a hero, depicts all Iraqis as bad guys, and overall leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
Yet again, I disagree with criticism about the portrayal of a certain group of people in a war film - it's a story told from the perspective of a combatant, and even then, a combatant that, while believing in the cause, struggles with his actions on a daily basis. Eastwood's direction is damn good, as is Cooper's performance. I didn't feel great coming out of the theater, but knew I just watched a very good film.