American Sniper (2014)


Pros
  • Bradley Cooper gives a strong performance (though I still think it wasn't strong enough to earn a Best Actor nomination)
  • Marks a slight return to form for Clint Eastwood, his more recent movies of the past few years have been disappointing (particularly Jersey Boys)
  • The opening scene in the movie is fantastic, immediately opens with a controversial and tense situation
  • Eastwood knows how to handle action sequences
  • The use of loud noises followed by sudden loss of sound with nothing but silence is a great tool used here
  • The nickname 'The Legend' and his legacy in the marines are pretty crazy
  • The sniper vs sniper adds some Hollywood type action (Though this never happened in real life)
  • Sad to see even the strongest of heroes struggles with life after the war and PTSD
  • Very intense sniper moments where Chris's decision-making is key, do you take the shot or not?
  • A nice little throwback to the western genre at the end of the film (also there is a cameo by Clint Eastwood outside of the church at the beginning of the film)
  • Saving the life of marines on this side of the ocean

Cons
  • The movie completely shies away from the more controversial/darker stories about Chris Kyle's life
  • His brother's storyline is basically left in the air, one minute it's there and then it's gone
  • Clint Eastwood paints him as the most patriotic American soldier of all time, it basically becomes too movie the top
  • The movie focuses too much on the war aspects, giving us four tours, but not enough time at home, where the real damage is being done
  • There is unfortunately hardly a supporting cast which brings the movie down quite a bit, we know hardly anything about anyone else other than Chris
  • I hate to say it, but this movie is without question Oscar-bait

Score: 6/10

I have to admit I went into the movie expecting more of a documentary type story than a biopic/action drama. That being said, American Sniper in my eyes was a safe attempt of a controversial person that could have been something much deeper. The movie paints him as the Superman of our armed forces (which is probably true) and slowly shows the toll the war has on his personal and professional life. It's a sad story no doubt, seeing even the mightiest of heroes affected by PTSD and the cost of war, but at the same time the movie shies away from the overall impact it has. We are only shown glimpses of his personal life and each time it gets worse and worse, but this is where the movie made the mistake, it shows too much action versus not enough of his personal life. We can easily see his professional career is very decorated and impressive, the movie boasts more than enough action to make him look like the hero he is, but the movie moves away from his personal life which is where we could have really got up close and personal. Though the movie is quite fictitious from what I have read, the acting and general story are quite impressive.

American Sniper is sure to be a crowd-pleaser (already has a Cinemascore of 'A+'), it's a good war movie with an interesting lead, but the movie doesn't go deep enough on a personal level and tackle the numerous controversial moments of his life. I went in to the movie knowing he has the most confirmed kills in US history and that's about all I knew leaving the movie...


American Sniper (2014) on IMDb

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