#11 AMERICAN SNIPER (24.1.15)
Starring Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller and Jake McDorman. Written by Jason Hall and based on Chris Kyle's autobiography. Directed By Clint Eastwood.
134 minutes long.
Based on the autobiography of the US army's most deadly sniper, Chris Kyle who officially killed 160 enemy combatants while he himself was said to have killed over 250. The film follows him through four tours of duty during the Gulf wars, while stopping off briefly to see glimpses of his own childhood and the story of his relationship with his wife, Taya, as played by Sienna Miller.
Gotta say that normally I'm not a fan of either Cooper or Miller but this time round they both won me over, Bradley in particular was terrific, hiding his pretty boy looks behind bulk and beard, he's stars in each and every scene and effortlessly carries the movie single-handily. This is a powerful and intense experience and the combat scenes are utterly gripping. The whole thing has a horrific fascination that engrosses and engages from beginning to end. In America this opened huge and its not difficult to see why. It's solid propaganda, the film never attempts to question the intervention of the US in Iraq and it's certainly not interested in showing the enemy as anything other than murderous, barbaric and despicable, with every Johnny Foreigner shown either treacherous and evil or evil and treacherous; happy to sacrifice its own children with no qualm or quater – this is an old fashion cowboys and Indians movie in that respect and as black and white as one too. The war is a terrible thing and seems to become even more so as Kyle's four tours of duty see rest of his unit, called the Punishers – after the Marvel comic character – slowly, and horribly, taken out of action until only Kyle's left to take revenge on the two enemy combatants he holds personally responsible, the electric drill wealding Butcher and the expert insurgent sniper, "Mustafa".
It's clear that, despite his age, Clint shows no signs of slowing and can still hack it as a director of note.
This won't be everyone's cup of tea and politically it's bound to rankle with some, but as a film this is powerful, powerful stuff and well worth seeing! Once again a solid, adult film but what a shame so many good films have been crammed into one month and not spread out across the year.