Director: Clint Eastwood
Writer: Jason Hall
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Kyle Gallner, Jonathan Groff
Studio: Warner Brothers

“American Sniper” has been on my radar for a few months. I had read the book and was well aware of the Jesse Ventura lawsuits involving a small amount of its contents. That being said, I kept recalling passages of the book while watching the film. Flashes of “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence” danced in my head, as I wondered how much of the real Chris Kyle was being shown onscreen. Clint Eastwood has become a right-wing kook in his old age, so I don’t expect him to be that beholden to reality. Still, there’s something extra going on with this film.

If Eastwood didn’t stumble so hard in the direction, this film would be the frontrunner at the Oscars. But, Bradley Cooper got a chance to shine through the faults. Whether it’s the fake baby, the tween looking Marines or the bizarre character breaks; Eastwood is showing that he needs to hang up the director’s chair. Most of the film can’t decide if it wants to be war propaganda or a serious look at a soldier’s mind. Ultimately, the film finds its strengths when Chris Kyle returns home and works with veterans suffering from PTSD.

Would Chris Kyle have approved of this film? Does it matter? Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller work their tails off to create a look at a modern military family. It’s just when we go back to the war front that everything gets lost. I had to stop several times when I was evaluating the movie, because the schizo nature of the narrative made it hard to pin down when Eastwood was accomplishing anything. He’d start a plot point, sleep on it for an hour and then speed into it like someone having a heart attack while driving a Big Rig truck. I don’t hate the film, I’m just incredibly disappointed on what was missed by some off-putting directorial choices.


RELEASE DATE: 01/16/2015 (goes wide)

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