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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Movie Review- American Sniper




Movie Review for American Sniper
I have never really been a patriotic person. Like most people who take our freedoms for granted, I rarely think about the sacrifices that millions of our soldiers have made. Whatever side of the fence that you're on politically, it's hard to deny the fact that people who enlist, are braver than the average man (with some exceptions). When dealing with my life's distractions, I don't have much time to appreciate the commitments of others but, sometimes a movie's message stays with me. For example- Jewelry looks nice but isn't worth the price (Blood Diamond), there are good people over there too (Lone Survivor), don't piss off the Jews (Munich), never fall into fearful conformity (Wanted), and you can still have kids after multiple shots to the groin (Jackass). Some movie messages get forgotten over time, while others stick with you for much longer.

Clint Eastwood is a patriotic man. Whether he's politically involved with social issues, making films like Heartbreak Ridge and Flags of Our Fathers, or condescending to an empty chair in front of a crowd, Clint has shown his love for this country. His film, American Sniper, shows his love for an individual who deserves much more recognition than some talentless celebrity with a fat ass (take your pick). Though based on a book, Eastwood honours Chris Kyle's memory by making a good film that doesn't teeter-totter with political b.s. This movie has an almost claustrophobic feel to it, in that the camera is close to Bradley Cooper's (The A-Team) face for a lot of the film. What works with that perspective, is that you can see the emotional toll that it takes on Cooper as he disconnects more and more throughout this movie. Cooper does it right. Long before the film is over, you forget that you're watching the jerk from The Wedding Crashers, and you see more than just a character on the screen. His wife in the film, played by Sienna Miller (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra), is the only other actor in the film worth mentioning. Because of the constant focus on Cooper, everyone else in the film has only bits and pieces, including Miller. But what time she does have is a believable performance that makes you feel for her character. When she and Cooper are on screen together, everything falls into a warm, comfortable place, even when they're fighting.

The action is filmed in a way that doesn't glorify violence, but also doesn't shy away from how overwhelming war can be. Even children aren't safe from it all. Honesty is the best way to tell this story. A good person like Kyle couldn't have killed so many "people" without it affecting him. And we go along on the ride with him. The only downside to the film focusing entirely on Cooper, is that his interactions with his brother and his S.E.A.L. team brothers are short and limited. We barely get a chance to sympathize with anyone other than the film's two leads. By the time American Sniper starts winding down (end of third act), signs of hope for Kyle start to emerge before we all remember how this will end. Even with all of its sadness, was it worth the ride? Absolutely.


The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, of American Sniper

The Good- Cooper is so good that I didn't even notice his fake baby in place of a real one. The sandstorm battle is one to remember. "The Butcher" is exactly just that.

The Bad- The rushed ending would have been more profound if we could have seen more of Cooper helping war veterans. To show his healing process.

The Ugly- Sure I feel patriotic now but, what about in a month? Will I still care about this man's story after I get bombarded with everything else that's going on in the world? I'd like to say yes but, life happens.


Final Thoughts on American Sniper

The difference between a great movie and the compost from people like Michael Bay, can be summed up by something as simple as the end credits. With Bay's Pearl Harbor, we get an overemotional Faith Hill song that hopes to be a top ten single where, Eastwood ends this film with no music and a beautiful montage of the real Chris Kyle's funeral procession. Guess which one's more memorable? Even though I'm disheartened by Kyle's tragic end, I am inspired by the courage of a man who faced the bullies head on with no hesitation. How many people can truly say that about themselves? See this in theaters and help support this film, Kyle's memory, and his family. They deserve it.
Rating- 8.5 out of 10

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