Favorite

Review: American Sniper 

click to enlarge american_sniper_still.jpg

AMERICAN SNIPER

**1/2

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

American Sniper is not showing in any theaters in the area.

Favorite

More by Matt Brunson

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Connect Today 07.17.2018

Latest in Film Reviews

  • Review: Skyscraper
  • Review: Skyscraper

    Basically, Skyscraper is a variation on the Die Hard template, but there’s not much here that will lead to many declarations of yippee-ki-yay from audience members.
    • Jul 13, 2018
  • Review: Incredibles 2
  • Review: Incredibles 2

    Incredibles 2 is a guaranteed good time at the movies and certain to be one of the summer’s biggest hits. But while it frequently feints in the direction of something more meaningful, it usually backs away and merely lathers on more thrills. That’s not exactly a debit, but anyone expecting the complexity of its predecessor might be left wanting.
    • Jun 17, 2018
  • Review: Adrift
  • Review: Adrift

    This film is as much a sweet love story as a grueling survival tale, although its realism is tempered with flights of fancy.
    • May 29, 2018
  • More »

The Most: Read | Shared | Comments

Movies This Week

More Filmtimes

or

Right Now On: Twitter | Facebook

Copyright © 2018, Connect Savannah. All Rights Reserved.
Website powered by Foundation