Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Film Review: "American Sniper" (2014).



The film's tagline "The most lethal sniper in U.S. history" sums up perfectly this incredible true story, American Sniper. This American biographical war drama film directed by Clint Eastwood and written by Jason Hall, based on Chris Kyle's autobiography American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History. Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle's pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield and turns him into a legend, with 255 kills, 160 of which were officially confirmed by the Department of Defense, and the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history. However, back home to his wife and kids after four tours of duty, Chris finds that it is the war he can't leave behind.

On May 24, 2012, it was announced that Warner Bros. had acquired the rights to Kyle's book with Bradley Cooper set to produce. Cooper originally had Chris Pratt in mind to play Kyle but the studio agreed to buy it only if he would star. September 2012, director David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook (2012) and American Hustle (2013)) stated that he was interested in directing the film, but ultimately left the project. On May 2, 2013, it was announced that Steven Spielberg (Jaws (1975), War Horse (2011) and Lincoln (2012)) would direct. Spielberg had read Kyle's book, he was responsible for adding the psychological conflict in the film. His contribution led to the development of a lengthy screenwriting process, culminating in a 160 page script. Due to Warner Bros.' budget restraints, Spielberg felt he could not bring his vision of the story to the screen, and thus dropped out of directing. On August 21, 2013, it was reported that Clint Eastwood (Unforgiven (1992) and Million Dollar Baby (2004)) would instead direct the film. In the following early months in 2014, Sienna Miller, Kyle Gallner, Cory Hardrict, Navid Negahban, Eric Close, Eric Ladin, Rey Gallegos, Jake McDorman, Luke Grimes and Sam Jaeger. Kevin Lacz, a former Navy SEAL, was also cast and served as a technical advisor. As well as former Navy SEAL, Joel Lambert. Filming began in Los Angeles and Morocco in March 2013 and the rest is history. 

The film stars Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle and Sienna Miller as Taya Renae Kyle. The two leads gave powerful performances, especially Cooper. Who gave the best performance of his career, he conveyed a near-perfect embodiment of Kyle himself. He walked and talked like Kyle.

American Sniper is one of Eastwoods' best work as a director can be found in this dark and sombre war drama. Realistic and thoughtful, the film has the pictorial sweep we've come to expect from the genre and the intelligence too long missing from it. However, my main objection to the film is always centered on its "Americanized" marketing, and effort by Warner Brothers to sell it as a movie about a war hero, with barely a hint of the pitch-dark substance that truly defines this film. It is a patriotic film in that it honors the man himself, but it is also patriotic because it questions the official version of the truth, and reminds us that superheroes exist only in comic books and cartoon movies.

Simon says American Sniper receives:


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