Friday, January 23, 2015

American Sniper

SPOILER and DISCLAIMER:  Wednesday Cosmo and I saw American Sniper.  I am one of the most patriotic people on the planet.  These are my feelings on the FILM, not a reflection on the heroic men and women who serve in the armed forces.  The following is not a political commentary in any way, shape or form.

I'm still not sure how I feel about the movie so I'll break it down into small bites:

Direction:  I think Clint Eastwood is brilliant and did an amazing job capturing the essence of the daily struggles of the US Marines and Navy Seals in the Middle East.  As you're watching the movie, you can't help but wonder how you would react given the same circumstances.  I thought the best, most compelling scenes were when Chris Kyle was on the rooftops having to decide to shoot or not to shoot.  It really came down to "Them or Us."  Again, how would I respond if I were in his shoes?  Could I shoot that small boy about to pick up the rocker launcher?  I thought the worst scenes involved his wife and his life States-side.

Screenplay:  Personally, the writing sucked.  I did not read Chris Kyle's book so I don't know how closely the screenplay followed the book.  I found the dialogue to be a little hokey and simplified and left a lot of unanswered questions:  How come he never wore his uniform when he was home (i.e., his wedding, at a comrade's funeral?).  Could he really blatantly disobey orders, jump off the roof and decide to join the ground forces?  What happened to his brother?  In the middle of combat Kyle picked up the phone and called his wife?  If that was my husband, I'd be yelling "put down the damn phone you fool!!!"  Why was Kyle honorably discharged . . . in the movie, his CO clearly said, "hold fire, stand your ground."  I felt as if Kyle was, at times, more concerned with personal demons (going after the Syrian sniper and the Butcher) than the overall mission at hand.  I also would have liked to have seen a little bit more about his PTSD and how he tried to assimilate to civilian life and his relationship with kids.  And what about claims that he shot at Hurricane Katrina looters?  What about that whole thing with Jessie Ventura?

Acting:  Regardless of my attitude towards the script, I found Bradley Cooper's portrayal to be outstanding.  He truly transformed himself.  His performance was credible and believable -- Chris Kyle he was just a kid from Texas who dreamed of being a cowboy.  And Bradley Cooper honored him brilliantly.  However, I hated the interaction between Kyle nd his wife.  Again, it felt forced and dumbed-down (and I hated the way she said, "baby" in every scene).

And last but not least, I need to address the elephant in the room -- that fake baby!!!  Geez Clint!  Get a real baby in there!

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