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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
First, let me say that Eastwood's direction, Cooper's acting and the
screenplay are all competent. Were this film a wholly fictional account
of a warrior with special skills put in the service of his comrades it
would be quite serviceable, though no more than that.
However, here was an opportunity to show the complexities of a man hailed as an American hero; and by complexities, I mean the thoroughly odious aspects of Chris Kyle's character. The man enjoyed killing people, regarding his targets as savages, and he bragged about killing looters in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina - even if he didn't, because we don't know for certain, what kind of man declares proudly his murderous inclinations? In short, he was far from a good man. Dismally, you would never know this from the simple-minded depiction of him as an all American Hero in Eastwood's film.
Likewise, there is not a shred of awareness in the film that the US involvement in Iraq might have been illegal and was certainly catastrophic for the Iraqis. The film's approach is to display every Iraqi man, woman and even child as intent on murdering "good" American troops and therefore deserving of their fate, both at the end of Kyle's rifle and under the boot of American troops generally.
I don't know what Eastwood was thinking when he made this film. Perhaps he saw an easy way to make money by appealing to the misplaced patriotism of some Americans. What I do know is that this is a disgusting film.
When American Sniper first came out I ignored the film thinking that it
was the usual war propaganda Hollywood delivers once a year.
After it received a couple of Oscar nominations I got a little curious and decided to go watch it. I am a big of Clint Eastwood and appreciate most of his work as a director, I am aware of his right-wing views and as I sat down in the theatre I was expecting a very patriotic story on the war in the Middle East.
But what I got was 2 hours of pure biased war propaganda. The story is supposed to be about a war hero, but what we get is a ruthless southern who kills "bad guys" because he saw some terrorist attacks against his country on TV. Not once are the his intentions questioned by either the character himself or others. The entire film just follows a one-track minded perspective on a "just" war. There is no morale to the story, there are no grey areas where the viewer is allowed to have an opinion and decide for himself what is right and what is wrong.
Now if this was satire, it would have been brilliant. The story of a redneck cowboy who after seeing some footage on TV about terrorist attacks decides he needs to protect his country by enrolling in the Navy and killing 150 people over 5000 miles away from where he lives, and without the slightest hesitation. But unfortunately it was not.
It is actually quite sad to see how low American cinema has stooped. The fact that people might actually believe this crap (and most Americans do) makes me lose hope for the future of a once great country.
There was a time when Hollywood war movies raised important questions on the righteousness of war (such as Full Metal Jacket, Thin Red Line, Apocalypse Now) where the viewer was given the clear picture that all war, justified or unjustified, is wrong.
Nowadays most war movies are just commercials to get the American public behind the idea that invading a foreign country is a God given right.
The fact that it got nominated for the Academy Award just shows how much a once acclaimed award is quickly becoming a pat on the shoulder to the most politically correct motion picture of the year.
Make no mistake. This film is not about recording history. It's about
This film opens with two fatherly lessons being taught to a young Chris Kyle: 1) How to kill a deer. 2) The world is made up of three kinds of people; sheep (people who can't/wont' fight), wolves (evil people), and shepherds (those who slay the evil people). then 9/11 - Kyle assumes the mantle of the "shepherd" - and by default, if you are not him, or like him, you are a wolf - then Iraq...
Kyle, Bible in hand, and tens of thousands of other wrongly informed American soldiers like him, go to Iraq to fight civilians in their living rooms and on their streets, because they were told that Sadam Hussian helped Al Qaida and was going to drop a bomb on us. None of which was true and the administration knew it. Period. Even before the March 2003 invasion of Iraq their claims of "yellowcake uranium from Niger" and "the smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud" were THOROUGHLY discredited. Yes, discredited BEFORE the invasion. Google "Nigerian embassy burglary/forged documents/Italian magazine/rocco martino".
The lack of self examination in this film regarding the war in Iraq is as disturbing as it is staggering. American citizens and soldiers were told that the necessity for this war was "nuclear weapons". That was later amended to WMD (chemical and biological weapons). All of which, the truly evil dictator denied having. We invaded anyway. And after the invasion none were found. The Bush administration conducted two exhaustive investigations (with their own hand picked investigators) into Iraq's WMD program and the results from the Kay/Duelfer report in 2004!!! were: "Saddam ended his nuclear program in 1991. ISG found no evidence of concerted efforts to restart the program. Iraq destroyed its chemical weapons stockpile in 1991, and only a small number of old, abandoned chemical munitions were discovered by the ISG." "Some" found those facts to be inconvenient, so the next reason for fighting Iraqis changed to "deposing a brutal dictator," (We should know. We armed him in the '80s) "shutting down his torture and rape rooms, and spreading European style democracy across the Middle East." Meanwhile Saudi Arabia, a dictatorial monarchy run by kings, was the breeding ground for the 19 hijackers who pulled off the worst attack, on U.S. soil, in history on 9/11. And American soldiers are sent to fight for a lie with unexamined motives surrounding religion and patriotism.
Clint Eastwood has made some bizarre public appearances in recent years. But here, with this film, he seems well past his shelf life by papering over every shred of truth surrounding the worst foreign policy disaster in American history with his giant pant load, "American Sniper". Many brave soldiers put their lives and limbs on the line and lost both. They deserve better than to be hemmed into the Iraq War fable centered on a dubious character like Chris Kyle. The sheep/wolves/shepherd, Bible, 9/11, fight 'em there, jingos all packed together create a disturbing narrative that what the U.S. did in Iraq was a good and just thing, and that Chris Kyle was an unproblematic protector. The truth is more complicated and less flattering.
Here are three statements Kyle made about the Iraqis: 1) "I wondered, how would I feel about killing someone? Now I know. It's no big deal" 2) "Savage, despicable evil. That's what we were fighting in Iraq. That's why a lot of people, myself included, called the enemy 'savages' . I only wish I had killed more." 3) "You do it until there's no one left to kill. That's what war is. I loved what I did I'm not lying or exaggerating to say it was fun."
Here are three lies Chris Kyle told without shame or conscience: 1) That he shot and killed two carjackers in Texas in 2009. 2) That he punched Jesse Ventura in the face at a Navy Seals reunion. 3) That he was stationed atop the Superdome during Hurricane Katrina and shot 30 American citizens to death.
Chris Kyle is not, in real life, a one dimensional character/hero. He does, however think in one dimension. We know that because he writes in his book, "It's black and white. I don't see much gray." In fact this film, who's stated message is one of shepherds, sheep, and wolves, unwittingly invites the question as to whether we really know which is which. And if "American Sniper" becomes an anthem to the Iraq war it will become one more tragedy, piled atop a greater tragedy, piled atop 9/11. It is bad enough that it happened. It would be even worse to carve this propaganda into stone. Chris Kyle is entitled to his world view even if it's divorced from reality. His world view, however, is not "the world". It's just the way he sees it.
It is unnecessary to get into the merits of a film so completely devoid of truth. The Iraq war was waged for the financial gain of the oil, gas, and defense, industries. Iraq had no WMD, was not a threat to this country, and did not become a democracy. This lie of a film was made for the same bloody money that the war was waged for. In my IMDb review of "Birth of a Nation" (an homage to the institution of slavery) I wrote, and will repeat here, "it is beside the point whether or not this film is good. It is an homage to something evil and therefore it's merits, as a film, are irrelevant." Whether "American Sniper" is a good film (In my opinion, plastic baby and all, it's no better than average) is beside the point. It is based on an unexamined life and is as big a blight on filmmaking as the invasion of Iraq was on humanity.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Let me start by saying that "American Sniper" has portrayed the true
face of Americas great brainwashing weapon called "Hollywood".
As in the movie "Inglourious Basterds" where Dr Goebbels, Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945, has been given a right to direct a movie for Fuhrer himself, a national pride performance which depicts a war hero, German Sniper killing 300 "enemies" in three days. Now switch the roles with Clint Eastwood as a director, Fuhrer as a Americas high elite of nowadays, and Nazi Sniper as an American Sniper Chris Kyle.
A big irony this movie is, and as such it shows how much effort will American Movie Industry give in order to brainwash its own people.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"American Sniper" is one of the worst movies I have ever been forced to
endure. It is simplistic propaganda masquerading as an award-worthy
story. There is no story.
American kid Chris Kyle is good at shooting so he uses 9/11 as an excuse to join the Navy SEALS and kill Iraqis. That's it. That's the whole movie. Clint Eastwood's one-dimensional direction shows Chris as some sort of American hero, even though any sane human will at least question the cold-blooded murder of men, women & children in a morally ambiguous war. I'm still not sure how Iraq was responsible for 9/11.
Clint tries to humanize our hero by tacking on a subplot about Chris's wife, but this storyline- like the rest of the movie- has NO conflict. Chris meets his prospective wife at a bar, dates her, marries her, impregnates her and starts a family with no trouble whatsoever. Why are we watching this? In the meantime our hero goes back to Iraq to blow the brains out of more women and children, and he doesn't seem to lose any sleep over his work.
Back home Chris gets accosted in a Jiffy-Lube by a fellow veteran, and the sequence plays more like a romantic meeting than a heartfelt tribute, as the appreciative vet stares at Chris with moist, dewy eyes while licking his lips. Either way, Kyle is unmoved and displays no emotion. Why are we watching this again?
Sienna Miller as Chris' wife cannot stop touching her belly to remind us that she's preggers. The straps of her fake pregnant belly are visible beneath her bra straps. At one point she hands Chris their child and it is very obviously a lifeless, motionless doll. Why are we watching this?
If you're looking for any type of character development you won't find it here: Chris Kyle is portrayed as a killing machine without any discernible personality. A fellow officer raises the question of why Chris carries a Bible. "I've never seen you open it," he says, and the issue is dropped there. Does Chris believe in God? Does he not? There is no internal life whatsoever.
Bradley Cooper does his best to instill this cardboard cutout of a character with some depth, but all he manages to do is say "Um " in a Southern drawl before he speaks every line to remind us that he is indeed from Texas. He meets his brother at an airport and the scene is a crime against acting: there is no connection, no exchange, no conflict. Suddenly Chris decides he wants to come home from the war and stop killing people. He does. Then he is killed by a fellow soldier and Eastwood leaves us with TV footage of the real Chris Kyle's funeral: six SUV's driving down the road while a couple people hold signs. Why?
Why was this movie made? What is it supposed to say? Why is this man special, or significant, or evil, or great? Why are we supposed to care about any of this? Why are we watching this?
The good news is: you don't have to.
it was extremely 'even'. nothing seemed overplayed. well balanced storytelling. as someone else wrote, best war movie i've seen in years...and while we're at it, best clint movie in a few outings, as well... i agree that the ending is a bit sudden. but there was no reason to drag it out, either... i don't feel it lingered on any one dynamic of what would be expected from a film like this...not TOO much violence or proselytizing/flag waving or lingering on casualty horrors... it doesn't, on the other hand, turn away from any of the ugliness, either... i thought bradley cooper did a great job in the role. the changes he gradually instilled into the character were subtle but present. it's as well done a war movie as i'll ever need.
I spent 27 years in the US Army, was in Operation Desert Storm (the original), was vehemently opposed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and thought this movie was one of the best military/war movies I've ever seen. The realism was there, Bradley Cooper was phenomenal, the angst of a soldier during battle was portrayed brilliantly, the decisions we ask kids to make are real and they were realistically shown on screen, and as this film makes clear--war isn't a walk in the park. Anybody who thinks Bradley Cooper is a flash in the pan is sadly mistaken; this guy is the real thing. Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now, Charlie Sheen in Platoon, and now Bradley Cooper in American Sniper. You've got to go all the way back to Gregory Peck in Pork Chop Hill or George C. Scott in Patton to get even close to an actor that gave a better performance in this genre. I saw it twice. Couldn't get through it the first time and had to walk out- -I got so damned furious at George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld for murdering all these innocent kids I couldn't watch anymore. Once I got past that I went back to see it again and trust me--it's phenomenal.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The movies is about Chris Kyle's home life and military career with the US Navy as a SEAL sniper. The movie has some intense moments, containing violent and disturbing scenes. The movie doesn't portray Chris as a Rambo figure but rather a man that deals with the problems all soldiers have to face both overseas and at home. Clint Eastwood who is in his mid-eighties, shows us he still has it, directing an amazing film. The movie tells Kyle's story the way he told it in the first book. Overall, American Sniper is a great movie that has all the components, that make a movie great. For anyone who is a war film enthusiast, this is a movie for you. To those who call Chris Kyle a murderer and baby killer, I believe you fail to understand what soldiers sacrifice to protect our liberties and keep us free.
I can't remember a movie in the last decade, that was as riveting and
captivating as "American Sniper." I kept seeing the trailer on TV and
when I finally went to see it, I was already jacked-up...and it
A+ Script A+ Director A+ Lead Actor A+ Supporting Actors A+ Cinematographer
I don't give a flying crap about anybody's politics when it comes to making movies. If they're great films, they're great films period. I've been in the film Industry for 33 years and I was deeply impressed with Eastwood's take on a story of constant moral dilemma, vs Patriotic duty.
Here's a guy that was motivated to defend our world and country against Psychotic Terrorists killing innocent people all over the world...while living on the edge of fatherhood. The inner conflict and balance of creating such a powerful reality, was right on the money.
Eastwood, Cooper and the screenwriter made a great team...which eventually became a great film.
Good work on Bradley Cooper's part as well, putting on the weight and
getting into character to play Chris Kyle, a sniper for the navy seals
who did four tours in Iraq protecting his fellow troops by being a
legendary shot. the Movie explores Kyle having to deal with a rival
sniper who was keeping him from doing the job of protecting his troops
and having to deal with coming home to his wife and kids feeling that
his mission was incomplete.
Old man Eastwood mixed action, drama and humor in a way only a legendary filmmaker could put together. The man still has the ability to tell a compelling story.
Bradley Cooper showed a range that is more Oscar worthy than what he did in Silver Linings Playbook.
It was nothing but enjoyable from beginning to end. Worth watching.
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