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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

American Sniper

directed by Clint Eastwood
[director filmography: Gran Torino (2008), Million Dollar Baby (2004), Mystic River (2003), Unforgiven (1992)]

written by Jason Hall
[first big film]

starring Bradley Cooper [American Hustle (2013), Silver Linings Playbook (2012), The Hangover Triology], Sienna Miller [Foxcatcher (2014), GI Joe: The Rise of the Cobra (2009), Stardust (2007)

ENJOYMENT: ***** (out of 5)
"Profound film that made me speechless"

From the trailer, it was clear that this film would be powerful. I mean, in it they show Cooper's character deciding whether or not to shoot a child running toward American GIs with an RPG ready to blow. And most of the film goes on like this. For some reason though, I didn't realize it'd be such a war film. I knew that Bradley Cooper plays the deadliest sniper in US history, Chris Kyle, but for some reason I thought it'd be more a flashback sort of telling about his time in the war. I thought they'd spend more time on his family and him readjusting back to home life after his tours. And they do. But not really. And I'm glad they didn't. The majority of the film takes place in combat in Baghdad. Because of this, from the point of view of a twenty-something who did not go to war, I believe every American should see this movie. American Sniper shows the horrors of war with the force of sledge hammer. Most movies are about wars that took place generations ago, in Vietnam or WWII, and it's easy to separate that from today. However, this film came out at a time when we were debating another war in the Middle East against ISIS, so it serves as a strong reminder of how destructive it can be even if you do survive. Nonetheless, there are some lighter moments as well. What makes the movie so brilliant is that it is mostly chronological: we witness Kyle meet his wife, get married, have a baby, etc. This allows for a balanced film and where we get to see Kyle's transformation from these experiences, especially after 9/11 and many tours in Iraq, and it allows for Cooper to showcase his incredible talent as well. As a director, Clint Eastwood is clearly a genius and at 84 years old it is remarkable that he can still make films like this. All in all, this is one of the most important movies of the year. I literally went 15 minutes without talking after this movie and my husband did as well. It was powerful and a very necessary film and one of my favorites of the year.

OSCAR PREDICTIONS: American Sniper was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor (Bradley Cooper) and Best Adapted Screenplay. Clint Eastwood probably should've been nominated for Best Director. Despite it being so good and a box office marvel, it will not win anything. This is the year of creative, innovative filmmaking and American Sniper is a bit too serious and controversial to take home the big prizes.

Other ratings: IMDB (7.5/10), Rotten Tomatoes (73%)

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