American Sniper (Film Review)


Far too often, movies like American Sniper get brushed aside as guns-a-blazing, violence-glorifying exercises in shooting. And while Clint Eastwood’s second film of 2014 certainly features moments which could inspire some good-natured patriotic revelry, the story of Chris Kyle, the United States’ deadliest sniper of all time, is anything but a happy one. Bursting with kinetic energy, heart-stopping sequences of suspense, and aching amounts of melancholy character development, American Sniper is Eastwood’s best film in years, and thoroughly deserving of all its recent Oscar accolades.

Spanning from Chris Kyle’s initial drive to join the military to his tragic death in 2013, the film shows Kyle turn into the most brutally effective soldier in memory, often at the expense of his relationship with his wife Taya. Divorced from the usual overt political overtones that permeate most war films like this, American Sniper focuses solely on the perspective of Kyle, showing him unflinchingly as one isolated man (or a pawn in the game, if you really want to get political) who had a major impact on the events of the war in Iraq, whether or not his motivations ever aligned with anyone else’s.

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