Starring: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Luke Grimes, Max Charles, Navid Negahban
Director: Clint Eastwood
Genre: Drama, War
Running time: 132 minutes
Now showing at Century Cinemax, Acacia Mall, Kisementi and Cinema Magic, Metroplex Mall, Naalya
American Sniper is a very uncomfortable movie in more ways than one. First, because it is based on an autobiography, you can’t just shrug away some uncomfortable scenes in the name of fiction – chances are that it did happen. The second is that it touches issues about times of war that not many people can agree on, issues like whether everyone on the other side of the battle-line is an enemy and therefore deserves to die.
Clint Eastwood must have been well aware of the movie conjuring these uncomfortable feelings, so what he did was make a movie that entertains, staying away from the extremist feelings expressed in American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History, the book on which it was based.
The movie follows the subject of the autobiography, Chris Kyle (Cooper), a cowboy turned Navy Seal or sniper to be specific. The plot intersperses between his struggle with not being able to save as many people as he would have liked during the war, and his relationship with his family, especially his wife Taya (Miller) who is not too happy about him re-enlisting.
While it could have been easy for the movie to be dogged down by its subject –war, it doesn’t, mainly because it humanises the people taking part in the war. This was deliberate on the part of Eastwood and screenwriter, Jason Hall who explains that, “The cost is man, the toll is man, and it’s this man and every other soldier that fights. If we understand that, maybe we won’t be so hasty into jumping into war.” Hall made this remarks in a Vanity Fair interview, where the writer said he expected the movie to spark debate on war.
Spark debate it has, with some people saying that the movie glorifies a man who took too much pride in killing, while others defend him, saying in war it is kill or be killed. But like Eastwood and Hall point out, the movie is about a man and the battles he faces in his personal life, and that is what makes this movie worth bearing with the frustration it will definitely evoke.