Oh god, it´s Eastwood... my heart bleeds.
Before I do this I would like to say that I have nothing but respect for Mr. Kyle and the entire subject. Also, I apologize that I haven´t read the book yet: I simply didn´t have time, currently I´m in the middle of 5 books and a number of magazines. That being said, I´d compare it to The Big Red One (1980) – a movie with potential.
American Sniper should have been the story of a legend. Chris Kyle was a complex character, an American hero on the outside, a man who simply enjoyed war and killing on the inside. Instead, Eastwood portrayed him simple-mindedly as a one-dimensional, emotionless, not entirely human, a really fictional character, a proud American, a good man, a good father joining the military after 9/11 with no flaws whatsoever.
There were several opportunities which Eastwood completely missed: In one scene Iraqi people were viewed as targets at the end of the barrel – what, btw, was an excellent opportunity to show all those people at home via a movie that war is never a one sided business and things are never black and white, and I´ve seen too many documentary films, read too many memoirs and spoke with too many veterans to know better. This movie clearly aims to be anti-war but there´s no self-examination, no internal conflict, Kyle´s character did not develop; at the beginning of the movie it was the same person as at the end. And I seriously doubt he was like that in his real life. Although there was one PTSD related scene, during which Kyle faced a fellow soldier which life he saved back in Iraq, but the scene played out emotionless and I felt that Eastwood only kind of brushed against the subject – and it deserved better. The romantic premise, the secondary storyline of Kyle´s wife was superfluous, there was no conflict either. It was just a fairytale romance. Its purpose remains unknown to me. In another scene Kyle was seen carrying a Bible. He carried it but he never opened it. This subject was never addressed or explained...
I think that this review should end positively. There was one scene I really enjoyed: Kyle shooting the Syrian sniper making it “the longest shot in Iraq”, from the technical aspect of that entire engagement, although, historically, it never happened.
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Film American Sniper
- Release Date:
- 15 January 2015
- Directed By:
- Clint Eastwood
- Run Time:
- 2h 13min
- Script written by:
- Jason Hall, Chris Kyle (book)