Thursday, January 22, 2015

Review: American Sniper

Review: American Sniper, Dir: Eastwood, Clint. Starring Bradley Cooper 7/10, with that being said I do believe the accolades it has received and been nominated for are justly deserved. This is a movie that does NOT glorify war. With that being said, it shows war without its spit and Hollywood polish. To call this a propaganda film is simply being simple. In fact to use the term glorification belittles the film, the people who made it, and mostly important the people, the real flesh and blood persons, portrayed in this piece of celluloid. Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle shows the conflict of being a sniper and being a husband and father. While he is tremendously successful in Iraq, the same cannot be said for home life with Taya. The chemistry between Sienna Miller as Taya and Cooper's Chris is almost palpable especially when he is struggling with PTSD and caught between home where he was wanted, and Iraq where he was needed. The reason I'm not grading this higher is for one reason, and one reason only. The damn use of the doll for the newborn daughter. I'm not sure what the set designer, UPM, Line Producer, AD, and Eastwood were all thinking? Singlehandedly this was the hokiest thing I have seen in films in a long time. And how anyone let this get through the system of checks deserves every facepalm, derisive youtube showing, and ugly comment. American Sniper shows quite graphically the fatal costs of war. It doesn't candy coat it, no long winded dying speeches, it shows war. It shows the rash decisions made out of personal sorrow. It has good characters who make bad decisions, and bad men who make the right decision; soldiers who hate the war and those that just want to kill some “ragheads”. It also shows growth from a young kid with a borderline abusive parent to a rodeo rider who has no direction in his life to a married SEAL / sniper whose life is more at home in a fire fight than at home. It is also a personal story. One man, one woman, and two kids navigating the decisions made by politicians who don't have to experience the aftermath. Currently it is nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Screenplay from an adapted source, sound design, and sound editing. While I do not think it will win Best Picture (I still hope that Imitation Game receives that award), it should receive the sound design/editing awards. In the end, its a movie that is actually anti-war. It shows that women and children are often victims of violence. It also shows that women and children are capable of violence. It puts a face on PTSD which not only affects the soldier but those around him. I say this unequivocally: This is a movie that everyone needs to see.