Wednesday, February 25, 2015

American Sniper Review

So, over this past weekend, in the middle of a snowstorm, I went to see "American Sniper." I'd been meaning to see it since it came out over Christmas break and finally got a chance to get to the theater (which, mind you, is a whopping 2 miles from my house).

First thought: While it's over 2 hours long, it flies by. Eastwood paces it very well, with rapid-fire battle scenes interspersed with tense, terse personal scenes throughout. The complex character of Chris Kyle is fleshed out, beyond "the Legend" who had more enemy kills than any other American sniper. The toll that war takes is clearly etched on Kyle's face and demeanor, and Bradley Cooper does an excellent job conveying the complex emotions torturing him.

Anyone that claims "American Sniper" is some sort of pro-American military, pro-war movie quite simply has no idea what they're talking about. While the American military isn't viewed unfavorably, it's far more a means to an end. Sure, it doesn't go out of its way to point out every fault, but that's not why the movie was made. And there's plenty of questioning why we're at war, why men are dying, why men like Chris Kyle have to do what they do.

And there are some cliches that could probably have been done without. The enemy master sniper played against Kyle was too close to a foil, right down to making scope adjustments in the same manner (and a Soviet scope on a PSL hardly makes the same clicks as the standard U.S. Military issue scope). While there's a lot of cheering at a critical juncture (I won't spoil it for you), anyone that couldn't see it coming from 10 miles away should get their eyesight checked.

Overall, though, I really liked "American Sniper." While folks certainly have their opinions of Chris Kyle (and Taya Kyle, and Clint Eastwood, and pretty much everyone else involved in the making of this movie), it's an engaging story about a charismatic individual who happened to be exceptional at what he does. Were he a stock car driver, fighter pilot, or bartender he might have been played by Tom Cruise. As it stands, Cooper did an excellent job in the big role as Chris Kyle.

Two thumbs enthusiastically up for "American Sniper".

That is all.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Coop said...

Agreed on all points. I didn't walk away thinking that the movie did an injustice to the book. There is only so much that you bring to the screen and Clint did well to keep the Hollywood sensationalism to minimum.

Bradley Cooper hit it out of the park in this role. I was also impressed with Sienna Miller in her roll as Taya.

Sailorcurt said...

My wife and I saw it a few weeks ago.

The only part I didn't like was at the very end, right before going off to the range with the guy that killed him, they depicted Chief Kyle coming out of the bedroom with a seemingly real western style revolver, and pointing it at his wife in a playful manner (with his finger on the trigger), and then nonchalantly putting it on a shelf right before leaving the house.

Maybe that really happened and that's why it was in the movie, but I found it a bit incredible that a highly trained individual who was teaching the shooting disciplines at the time would do something so blatantly in violation of basic firearms safety.

Made him look like the stereotypical redneck who doesn't take firearms safety seriously and I find that difficult to believe.

Even my wife pointed it out in disbelief and she's not anywhere near the firearms enthusiast that I am.

Didn't ruin it for me by any means, I still enjoyed the movie, but I was really dumbstruck by that incongruous scene.

The one thing that I really liked about the movie was that they (in my humble opinion) accurately portrayed the attitudes of the majority of military members and why so many volunteer to go into war zones over and over again: They don't do it because they love war or love killing...they do it because they love their fellow warriors and to save the lives of their brother's and sisters in arms.

Of course, the left hated that part of it because it flies in the face of their stereotypes, but in my experience, that's an accurate depiction of the majority of our military heroes.

SPEMack said...

I watched it, probably Ill-advisedly so, with my little sister.

In some aspects it was hard to watch, like way hard, studying the tops of my loafers.

And in other ways it was like
"Yeah, we do that! That's exactly how it goes sometimes!"

Gripping would be the word I'd use to describe it.

Bubblehead Les. said...

On a Related Note: A few weeks back, Obama decided to host a "White House Viewing" of the movie Selma. Now, His Good Cronie Oprah was one of the Executive Producers, and since the Academy was in the process of Voting for the Best Picture, Best Director, etc; well, why not send a "Message" to the Acadamy Voters that Obama would like the Hollywood Elite to vote for Selma? No Political Influence Implied, of course. And the Million or so spent on Extra Security, Entertainment, etc, why, the Taxpayers can afford it, because, after all, it's not THEIR Money, is it?

Fast Forward to Sunday: Selma gets ONE Academy Award for Best Song, and American Sniper gets ONE Academy Award for Best Sound Editing. But here's the Best Parts: Tara Kyle showed up, walked the Red Carpet, and was in the Audience to show the Hollywood Elite that People like her Husband was the only reason they had the Freedom to Vote for Movies that weren't State-Approved, like in Soviet Russia, China, Korea, Cuba, Iran, etc.

But the BEST part is the Box Office. To date: Selma has made about $50 Million. Let's say it costs $10 a ticket, which means about 5 Million People went out and watch the "Obama-Endorsed Movie of the Season!"

America Sniper? Over $310 Million in the Domestic Market, and over $100 Million OVERSEAS! So that's about 30 Million People in the U.S., WHICH IS ABOUT 10% OF THE POPULATION, PLUS ANOTHER 10 MILLION OVERSEAS!

Gee, I wonder why a Movie that depicts an American Soldier KILLING Terrorists to protect our Country is More Popular than a Movie showing African-American Protestors getting their Heads beat in by Racist White Cops?

I dunno, but I don't live in the Obama Reality/Universe, so...

Old NFO said...

Agree with SailorCurt. It IS worth the money. Not the same as what we had in 'Nam. Very engrossing story.

Daniel in Brookline said...

I saw it with my folks, and "gripping" is a good word to describe it. I found the story a little disjointed at times -- it seemed like he did almost no sniping in his second and third tours, for example -- but perhaps a second viewing would clear some things up for me.

I too found the final scene, with the cowboy revolver, incongruous and unsettling. It would have made sense if there was any suggestion, any at all, that Chris Kyle met his death due to unsafe handling of firearms, but that's not what happened and the movie doesn't suggest that it did. And, having read Chief Kyle's second book, "American Gun", it's hard for me to believe that he would be so careless... but I never met the man, so what do I know?

It was a great movie. Bradley Cooper deserved a Best Actor for this role. I guess he'll have to content himself with having portrayed a genuine American hero, and done it so well as to impress the man's family and friends. That's quite an accomplishment.

Roger said...

The wife & I saw it two weeks ago. Gripping was a good description as is moving.
At the end the audience stood and clapped. Apparently, the movie moved them too.