Review: American Sniper 

click to enlarge american_sniper_still.jpg



DIRECTED BY Clint Eastwood

STARS Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller

The weakest of the eight newly announced nominees for the Best Picture Oscar, American Sniper nevertheless turns out to be one of the better Clint Eastwood releases of recent vintage. But like most of his latter-day films in the director’s chair, efforts like Invictus and J. Edgar, it’s less a heartfelt piece of moviemaking and more a bald lunge to score yet more Oscar gold for his mantelpiece.

American Sniper relates the story of Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper), a U.S. Navy Seal shooter famous (infamous?) for recording more kills than anyone else in American military history (160 confirmed, another 95 probable).

Despite Eastwood’s own conservative leanings, the filmmaker has rarely proven himself to be a knee-jerk chickenhawk or rambling right-wing tool (well, aside from that Razzie-worthy bit opposite an empty chair at the RNC), and his films have over the decades served as an intriguing – and evolving – treatise on issues of gun violence and hero worship, beginning with the hardline stylings of Dirty Harry through the revisionist politics of Unforgiven through the startlingly progressive stance of Gran Torino.

Unfortunately, American Sniper adds nothing new to this conversation – more so since it comes on the heels of more accomplished “over there” efforts like Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker -- and while Eastwood and scripter Jason Hall take some care in muddying the morality at play, they still err on the side of sainthood in painting their portrait of Chris Kyle, a man whose more tasteless actions and comments have been white scrubbed from this biopic.

In one sense, that doesn’t matter, as fictionalizations never claim to be carved-in-stone documentaries – nor should they be. It’s just interesting that in an awards season in which Selma was dragged through the mud for its inaccurate portrayal of Lyndon B. Johnson – a cacophonous racket of swiftboating tactics believed to have ultimately hurt its Oscar take – any whispers about American Sniper’s inaccuracies have been underreported.

American Sniper features a solid turn by Cooper (the other male parts are largely indistinguishable from one another) and a few sequences that pack a visceral kick, but a little more complexity would have allowed the picture to score a more direct hit.

Now Playing

Sorry there are no upcoming showtimes for American Sniper


More by Matt Brunson

  • Review: The Accountant
  • Review: The Accountant

    Smart movies tend to avoid offering obvious patterns, imbecilic narrative coincidences, and imploding third acts. Unfortunately, The Accountant isn’t that smart.
    • Oct 11, 2016
  • Review: Masterminds
  • Review: Masterminds

    The movie is based on the 1997 Loomis Fargo robbery that took place in Charlotte, and scripters Chris Bowman, Hubbel Palmer and Emily Spivey refused to change the names to protect the stupid.
    • Sep 27, 2016
  • Review: The Magnificent Seven
  • Review: The Magnificent Seven

    While it’s admirable that the filmmakers forged their own path, it’s also lamentable in that, overall, these men aren’t nearly as interesting or as memorable as the 1960 models.
    • Sep 20, 2016
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Connect Today 10.20.2016

Movies This Week

More Filmtimes


Right Now On: Twitter | Facebook

Copyright © 2016, Connect Savannah. All Rights Reserved.
Website powered by Foundation