Movie Review : American Sniper

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Based on Navy SEAL Chris Kyle’s book of the same name, this movie sets out to show us the man behind the kill count. Kyle is lauded as being the most lethal American sniper in history with 160 kills to his name over his 4 tours of Iraq. It’s an interesting, perhaps dubious honour to have bestowed upon you.

Chris Kyle (Cooper) is a young man with a lightning fast trigger finger and a notion to serve and protect his country. Very honourable. He meets, falls in love with and marries Taya (Miller), the woman who will ultimately become the cornerstone of Chris’ life…..the reality he will eventually struggle to get back to.

This is not a pleasant movie to watch. There I said it ….

Opening with the scene from the trailer where Chris is poised to shoot a woman and child, we are offered brief flashbacks to his childhood and then the night he meets Taya. Fast forward and we see Chris and Taya watching in horror, as most of the world did, the events of September 11. This only heightens Chris’ sense of patriotism and his determination to protect his country.

Now this is the thing about this movie. It’s not a war movie per se. These men don’t seem to think they are off fighting a war, they see it as protecting their country. Chris views it as such, well from my perspective he did. He goes to a foreign country, as an invader, to protect his country. He becomes a sniper to protect Marines. To his mind, he only kills to protect. It’s a flawed logic….. I can see how and why but flawed it remains.

And before you start sending me nasty emails, I think the whole idea of invading a country and starting a war to protect your own country is flawed logic. It is not specific to this movie.

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Chris and his sniping skills become legend. He is lauded a hero by all yet has the good grace to be uncomfortable with this ‘title’ . Or at least Cooper under Eastwood’s wise direction does. His humility and awkwardness is what saves Kyle from being a monster. Regardless of why, isn’t the term monster one we would give to a man who is ready and willing to kill a small child? Yes, you know it is.

I found the war footage, which was most of the movie, rather tedious. Lots of lying around and peering through the target thing on the rifle. The only truly engaging character was Cooper but no, he does not deserve the Oscar nomination ……and luckily, he won’t win either (Team Redmayne here 😉 )

If you enjoy war movies, this is one for you. It is not a deep character study nor a true representation of the war in Iraq. Then again, it never pretended to be either. I am glad I saw this movie but would not watch it again. The scene with the little boy (you will know it when you see it) was far too much for me.

3 stars

Love Flick xx

Director : Clint Eastwood

Starring :  Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Kyle Gallner, Luke Grimes, Sammy Sheik, Ben Reed

Running Time :  132 minutes

Release Date :  22 January 2015

 

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