I’m not sure I understand the complaints being leveled against Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper. He brings to the screen an adaptation of the autobiographical experience of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle – a soldier whose values and ideals were compromised by his experience in the Iraq war.
Kyle, a Texas rodeo rider, enlists in the Navy after watching Al Qaeda’s attack on the United States on television. He served four tours of duty in Iraq, received commendations for his heroism and is considered the most lethal sniper in US military history. What ends up saving Kyle from his demons is helping other veterans. But the movie is really about Kyle’s beliefs and values being tested and the price our servicemen and women pay to protect this country. Yet Eastwood doesn’t ignore the Iraqi people. He shows the destruction of their land and spirit. It seems he’s chosen Kyle’s story to show that in the end we all pay the price of war.
American Sniper is a tragedy which neither glorifies nor condemns war. Instead it gets into the head of a soldier, shows how it changes him and how he must learn to reconcile the experience on the battlefield with the “normalcy” of home. As a director, Eastwood gets better with age, and Bradley Cooper again proves himself to be more than a pretty face. LAR
Running time: 132 minutes