American Sniper (2014): Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle's pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield and turns him into a legend. Back home to his wife and kids after four tours of duty, however, Chris finds that it is the war he can't leave behind.
Ok, guys. I'm about to take an unpopular opinion here. American Sniper is not good. I'm really worried that it's gonna win Best Picture because of its massive (and very undeserved) commercial success. If American Sniper does win Best Picture, this would be the perfect case study as to how successful a marketing campaign can be for a movie. Warner Brothers has spent a crapload of money on marketing this, both to consumers and the Academy, which is why this movie just beat out Avatar for best January release and got 6 Academy Award nominations. Cause, I got news for you, American Sniper deserves a nomination for, well, nothing. There were better acting performances this year and from a technical standpoint this movie is average. But America, f*ck ya am I right? If this movie doesn't sweep the Oscars then THE TERRORISTS WIN. If you don't see this movie then THE TERRORISTS WIN. I know there are some people that will come to the defense of this movie, even though they shouldn't, but here's its main problem: it's propaganda. It's the very definition of that. And it drove me somewhat insane. The movie has an good story with Bradley Cooper. He's great as Chris Kyle, yes. But the movie honestly doesn't offer a whole lot else. The movie is incredibly INCREDIBLY simplistic in nature, baby-feeding us its morals one issue at a time. There should've been a lot more moral dilemmas. There should've been a lot more issues at home with the family. And there should've been A WHOLE HECK OF A LOT MORE investigating into Kyle's time after the war and his issues with PTSD. But no. The movie is 132 minutes long, and we sure as hell can't have this movie any longer cause, you know, American attention spans suck so we can't have any of this stuff. Just unjustifiably small portions of each/
As for the acting, there are really only two performances in the movie worth noting. Actually, this is another problem I have with this movie. There is a large supporting cast, but nobody else even remotely stood out other than Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller. Who were both great. If I had seen this movie before the Oscar nominations list was unveiled, I would've said that maybe Cooper gets a nomination for Best Actor, but upon seeing Selma David Oyelowo absolutely deserved the nomination over Cooper. That said, he is still excellent here. And I love Bradley Cooper in everything he does, so there's that too. I'm happy he's received another nomination, but he by no means actually deserves the award.
Gosh. These modern military movies are like....they're like Call of Duty. A lot of people buy the games, but they offer very little in terms of advancement within the genre they are in. And yet everyone always thinks Call of Duty is the best shooting game every year. Cause it's the only game within the genre they've played. That's the thing I'm really worried about, here: people are going to only see this movie from the Best Picture list and automatically assumes it deserves the award. It does not. Not even remotely. And honestly, as I've let this movie sit with me longer and longer, I'm becoming more and more pissed off at it. This movie had a real opportunity to question the ethics of war and the morality that comes with having a man's life in your trigger finger and raise the question of how far is too far to save your fellow soldiers that, in my opinion, it dropped the ball on in a pretty spectacular manner. To me that question of morality is only effectively brought up once-when a kid picks up an RPG and considers firing it on an American convoy-but other than that it really sums up the war in a clear-cut us vs. them fashion. And even here it was obvious what the kid was thinking about in killing Americans, he just decided not to do it. There was never a moment in the film where Kyle has to decide if a kid holding a grenade running at a marine is trying to blow them up or simply, you know, hand them a grenade they found somewhere. This black-and-white approach culminated with a terrible third act and a fight in a sandstorm which, while tense, turned the movie into essentially a mindless popcorn flick. As a result, this movie felt like propaganda to me and nothing more. Yes, it is a movie, but it is marketing itself as a movie with a heavy dose of morality attached to it. It is not this to an almost criminal extent. The movie has barely resonated with me at all, as it has been thrown into the rest of these modern military "propaganda" pieces that make way more money than they should. And yet....it's about America. How can I hate it right? How can anyone hate it? 'MURICA.
The Critique: I'm going to defer to a Family Guy joke for this one. 9/11 WAS BAD. (Cheers)
The Recommendation: IF YOU DON'T SEE THIS MOVIE, THE TERRORISTS WIN. (Sarcasm-watch Selma instead PLEASE)
Rewatchability: NINE. (gasps) ELEVEN. (cheers)
The Verdict: 4/10 Below Average.
Aaaaaaand cue the "I hate America" responses....
"Like" Enter the Movies on Facebook for the latest and greatest on all things movies! OR ELSE FACE THE CONSEQUENCES OF A KILLER RABBIT. Sorry about this one, guys. Not my decision. He volunteered. And is just absolute dynamite!