American Sniper – Movie Review
Film review by Michael Chasin
American Sniper—produced in 2014 and in current release—plays like a movie made in 1944.
We are introduced to Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) defending his younger brother from a bully. His father, in stilted dialog, tells him to only use his abilities to defend the weak.
Quickly moving into adulthood, Kyle watches an American embassy bombing on TV that instantly motivates him to join the military.
This leads to the perfunctory SEAL training sequence and Kyle meeting cute his future wife.
Kyle, possessed of extraordinary shooting skills, goes on to become the most lethal sniper in American military history over four tours in Iraq.
Kyle speaks plainly.
Loves his wife.
Is motivated by patriotism.
And expertly kills—without remorse—in the name of country.
Kyle is a throwback American hero.
However, unlike a 1940s film, when stateside between tours, Kyle is muted and emotionally closed—and it’s the first time we see a real human character.
Kyle ends his military career physically unharmed—but suffering post-traumatic stress disorder.
Kyle’s PTSD (with his all too easy and quick recovery) is what makes American Sniper a 2014 movie.
And then the ending—which must be faithful to the real life Chris Kyle.
This very retro hero—and film—is something that audiences apparently crave—as evidenced by American Sniper’s opening weekend box office records.
For the first time in my decades of movie-going, I experienced a full theater that silently watched the closing credits—and then solemnly filed out—as if at a funeral.
An extraordinary occurrence.
So perhaps director Clint Eastwood knows what audiences want in 2015—a film of the 1940s.