American Sniper--directed by Clint Eastwood and written by Jason Hall from a book by Chris Kyle, Scott McEwen & James DeFelice/ starring Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller/rated R/ 2hr 14mins
Bifocal Reviews written by Ageless1der Barbara Rich & The Other Guy
(BR): Of most of the films I’ve ever seen, this was one of the hardest to watch. It is not the physical torture or blood and guts that bothered me the most. Though this is not my kind of movie to begin with. It was the mental anguish that was portrayed when soldiers have to make such difficult choices when all options are bad. I don’t know how any soldier can come away from war without being seriously affected by the acts he is forced to perform. There aren’t enough medals to bestow upon our service people. However, this movie was very well constructed. I can’t find any fault with the production or the direction of this movie. The performances were very real to me, because I became such a part of a world that I don’t often think about. This year will be a very difficult choice for Oscars in all categories, and my picks. American Sniper will be among those graced with awards, no doubt and gets a well-deserved five binoculars from this humble reviewer.
(OG): Let me begin by saying, American Sniper is getting four-and-half binoculars from me, and I certainly don’t consider any action that any member of any branch of the military who is following the orders of his superiors to be anything but heroic. This was an excellent movie that depicted a character who should be the envy of every soldier or civilian alike, though the movie was perhaps a little bit too long. However, I am saddened by the concept of war. From what little I have gleaned from my association with actual warriors—and I use that term to mean only those who have served their countries, or established, well-defined causes, in a declared war--it was probably the most realistic portrayal of Iraq to date. It certainly far surpassed the highly overrated Hurt Locker. I also have to point out that there wasn’t anyone who left the theater early. In fact, the film got a rousing ovation from the audience, more so than anything I’ve ever seen before. People sat reverently in silence through the credits and did not applaud until every person involved was given credit for their participation. So, how did I like watching this film? Honestly, it made me a little uncomfortable. I don’t think I would have felt this way if the movie had been about any other war, but in this case I couldn’t help but think that the “wolf-sheepdog-sheep” triangle of cultural patriotism that is suggested as heroic here, would have been better served by being focused on another war…say Viet Nam for instance. Unfortunately, this movie was about a marksman who was asked to do a specific job that he was good at performing. He didn’t hide behind the job to keep from harm’s way, but rather used his skill to protect those he’d been instructed to protect, under the conditions his country asked him to... his flock…Navy SEAL, Chris Kyle protected his flock. That’s my opinion, for what’s it’s worth.