Saturday, January 24, 2015

American Sniper

Plot: Sniper Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) picks up Taya (Sienna Miller) in a bar, and marries her three days before going to Iraq for the 2nd Iraq war. Chris does a great job protecting soldiers in urban warfare situations. He comes home, makes a baby, and goes back to war. He does that a three times. He becomes famous for killing so many enemies. The last time he comes back with post-traumatic stress disorder, and he helps himself by working with distressed veterans.  [imdb]    [photos]

Review:  American Sniper is fairy tale of a war movie. It looks news-reel real with drama pasted from TV news videos. but even in the theater one can see the heavy hand of the Hollywood scriptwriter. Later on the internet, the myth shows itself as a mirage.

American Sniper has a shiny heroic hero coupled with heart-throbbing sentimentalism, for example, home-side scenes with a crying wife to give hero Chris something to fight for; the wedding with guests whispering about pending war; some buddies getting killed. In the moment, it is moving and inspiring.

When the movie works, it's a portrait of Chris Kyle who I admire for his idealism and selflessness. I liked the first Iraq deployment. 

Most of the writing and plotting are not good enough: it is a stereotype of war movie. I did not like the movie after the first Iraq deployment. The home visits were especially sappy. 

Fact: this movie has a problem with facts. Kyle's autobiography is exaggerated Link , and director Eastwood's script has multiple Hollywood scriptwriter tricks.  Link The most dramatic scenes were false; there was no "Butcher" character; the sniper; the war breaking out during the wedding.

The urban warfare scenes in Iraq were conflicting because the poor Iraq people were being harassed by the soldiers. It was hard not to sympathize with the people being invaded. Later in Afghanistan the Taliban were more soldier-like, and it seemed more like a regular war. This conflict was probably intentional. 

Rating: 2.0 stars: What I loved was believing in heroes who selflessly help others and protect us all. I liked believing this is true. What I hated was knowing it was fake. It's a fairy tale. When I realize it is a lie, I feel tricked. I feel someone is telling there is a Santa, but you know... there isn't. And I feel dumb and disappointed. 

Cast: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller

Directed by:  Clint Eastwood

Based on the autobiography by:  Chris Kyle with Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice. 

More:  Bradley Cooper gained 40 pounds and beefed by working out four hours a day. I suspect steroids, but he denies it. 

Even More: I don't know why American Sniper & Bradley Cooper are up for Oscars. It doesn't seem
deserved to me.