Clint Eastwood hits his mark
Clint Eastwood is 84 years old. He started out as an actor in the mid-‘50s (he’s probably best known as “Dirty Harry”) and started directing in the ‘70s.
His most recent films include Gran Torino, Invictus, J. Edgar, and Jersey Boys. His newest film American Sniper may not be his best but it certainly proves again that whatever his politics are, he is still a formidable American storyteller and he still has fire in him.
Chris Kyle—or at least the Chris Kyle we know from this biopic—is the kind of guy you want as a “kuya,” the guy you want on your side. You know whatever happens, he will have your back. His extraordinary proficiency as with a long range rifle, his rigorous SEAL sniper training along with his particular sense of patriotism and his readiness to protect what he holds dear earned him the distinction of being The Most Lethal Sniper in US Military History.
American Sniper takes us from Kyle’s younger days, learning from his father to falling in love with his wife Taya, and completing four tours in the Iraq War. There are scenes that take place at home on US soil, in Texas—with Kyle’s wife and family. But it is the scenes in Iraq during the war which are the most well crafted and riveting in the movie—they bring war zone tension, suspense, gruesomeness and camaraderie out effectively. These scenes have the feel of Lone Survivor, Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down, and HBO’s Generation Kill. Bradley Cooper once again proves he’s come a very, very long way from playing asshole boyfriends in rom-coms.
One could argue with me about this but I did not feel the film went preachy one way or the other about war—it did not glorify war nor say it was a big mistake. War is terrible business any way you look at it. The focus was the men on the ground and sadly what many of them took home after laying their lives on the line for their country—bullet holes, missing limbs and PTSD. The “for what?” part is left up to the audience to decide.
This movie also certainly brings up another debate—that of gun control and gun use.
If you have sharp eyes you’ll spot Manhunt presenter and former Navy SEAL Joel Lambert as a sniper, and you’ll recognize Generation Kill’s Chance Kelley. You’ll also notice, the infant in the scenes with Taya and Chris is obviously a dummy.
That aside, Clint—you are a badass.
American Sniper opened January 21 in cinemas nationwide. It is currently an Oscar nominee in the Best Picture category. Bradley Cooper is a nominee in the Best Actor category.