Hollywood has made many films about the war on terror. The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty are perhaps the most prominent ones, so I guess it was only a matter of time before the most American director in Hollywood made a film about the war on terror. American Sniper follows the true story of American Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, a man who is said to be the deadliest marksman in American history and is credited with over 160 kills.
Directed by: Clint Eastwood, American Sniper is perhaps the most hallow war movie ever made since John Wayne’s The Green Berets. For a film that pitches itself as an anti-war movie the film is anything but that and struck me as nothing more than pro-war propaganda. American Sniper is well-shot, great to look at, at times thrilling but it’s the films message that surprised me most, which is, it has none. Bradley Cooper plays Navy SEAL Chris Kyle who basically goes through the course of the movie killing people in Iraq, whether it’s actual terrorists or innocent civilians and has absolutely no moment of self-reflection over what he has done and his acts fail to have an affect on his conscience either.
Bradley Cooper is middling at best, neither is his character that interesting, nor does Cooper go out of his way to give a particularly exceptional performance and seems to be pretty much channeling Tom Hanks’s performance from Forrest Gump. Sienna Miller plays Kyle’s wife, who is seen in the scenes when Kyle is home. She gives a very good performance, probably the best one of the entire film.
The biggest problem with American Sniper is that it tries too hard to make a hero out of Kyle’s character. The film lacks in truly humanizing Kyle’s character and fails to justify everything Kyle does which makes it difficult for any non-american to root for him.
All in all, American Sniper is a mediocre effort from director Clint Eastwood that feels more like a salute to the American flag than a comprehensive look at war and how it effects the average soldier psychologically.