"It puts lightning in your bones and makes it hard to hold onto anything else."
I am not sure there will be a more talked about movie this year than American Sniper starring Bradly Cooper. This film is polarizing and has plenty of talking points, but let's start with a few words about the latest film by Mr. Eastwood. First of all, Bradly Cooper plays a solid, not spectacular role as Chris Kyle, Navy Seal. Watching the film you are convinced that the four tours that Chris went on over in Iraq did impact him greatly. Chris's PTSD forces a struggle in acclimating back to civilian life and Cooper plays out this part of his role really well. However, the acting around his character is sub par and I feel really short-circuits of much of the anticipated drama of the plot. Personally, I found the pace of the movie sluggish and American Sniper is missing a spark that is always the hallmark of a great war film (Hurt Locker/Lone Survivor). There was nothing I loved about the film, although I was entertained for most of it.
The real intrigue around this film is the dynamics with how the film is being seen. People came out in record droves and smashed box office records to watch a film that celebrates the most prolific sniper U.S. Navy's history. Of all the cinematic achievements in story telling ever created, a movie about a sniper now holds more than a dozen attendance records. About a sniper. Sniper's kill. A lot. Death. Shooting. Usually hidden from view. I'm amazed how even the subject has gotten people to the leave their homes and make it to the theater for the sake of being entertained. And while I do have a great deal of respect of what our armed forces do to protect everyday life in America, this film circles the wagons back to the question of what was really achieved fighting a war in Iraq in the first place. Several of the soldiers in the film clearly question their purpose abroad, but not the main character.
I've read that many people have labeled this film as propaganda although I stopped short of taking it that way. In fact, I am still not exactly sure how I take this film on a level above entertainment. In that regard I guess it is a unique cinematic experience. During the ending credits the theater was silent and the air was thick with a deep sentiment that I haven't ever experienced before at a movie house. I did see the film with a British friend who commented after the film "You Americans love your heroes. The patriotism in that film, I have never seen anything like it." He was not being snippy but rather made some good points. American Sniper will strike a nerve with many different types of people and their reactions will all differ greatly. I applaud Clint Eastwood for creating something to talk about and shining the spotlight on a topic that the public can wrestle over. Like it or not, see this film and decide for yourself. 'Merica, F-ya!