I think this is going to turn out to be more a current event piece than a movie review, and maybe that fact alone shows just how impactful this film was.
I’ve been writing film reviews on my site for about five years now. I was surprised that in that time I’ve only written 55 up to this point. (This will be my 56th.) But I’ve noticed that in most of my reviews, very few of them were based on a true story or an actual event that surprised me. I’ve always been the first to feed on conspiracy theories and/or incredible stories especially in the backdrop of American history.
When the dust settles and we find ourselves where those blurry lines between reality and creative interpretation intersect, there is this film.
American Sniper is the true story of Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL sniper who was responsible for over 160 kills during his four tours in Iraq. As he returns home after each tour, he begins to slip away more and more into a frame of mind of discomfort and uncertainty. While stateside, he becomes alienated from his wife and children.
It’s very difficult for me to look at this film as just another war movie. Since it is based on actual events, and quite recent at that, my artistic critique is skewed by the real-world headlines. If that was Clint Eastwood’s intent, then bravo, sir.
It also makes it extremely difficult for me because Bradley Cooper is up for an Academy Award for his role. Giving my opinions as to why he should or shouldn’t win might get muddied up into false or outlandish conclusions that I don’t wish to entertain.
From a strictly artistic perspective, this is one of the most accurate war films I’ve seen since Black Hawk Down. (I say “accurate” even though my closest thing to military training or experience is The Boy Scouts.)
Sadly, (and I don’t consider this a spoiler alert as it’s not in the film) Chris Kyle was killed in a Texas shooting range in 2013 by Eddie Ray Routh; a fellow veteran Kyle was trying to help. Routh’s trial is underway and this very film is causing a lot of complications regarding jury selection which could essentially affect the course of the trial.
I’m not even going to recommend to see it or not. But no matter what side of the political fence you’re on, if you have a soul, it should effect you one way or another.