Film review: American Sniper

Neither a gung-ho, chest-pounding panegyric to the magnificence of the US military nor a blind defense of the Iraq War, which by now even the most ardent right-wing activist has to admit was one of the country’s stupidest foreign policy decisions ever, Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper is likable and entertaining, as long as you don’t delve into the real-world connection to the events onscreen.

The film has divided the movie-going public into two vocal and often vociferous camps: In the one are those who believe the central character, sniper par excellence Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper), is the ultimate soldier whose dedication to and talent for killing murderous thugs in Iraq is worthy of our deepest respect.

In the other are slightly less emotional viewers for whom war in general, and the Second Iraq War in particular, is a primitive and often obscene display of aggression that throws people’s most despicable qualities into sharp relief, no matter how pure their intentions of fighting in the name of the good. A critical examination of this final point was at the heart of last year’s powerful but harrowing anti-war film, Fury, which also presented us with a far more ambiguous treatment of the subject of war than American Sniper ever aspires to.

To read the full review, visit The Prague Post.

(Still of Bradley Cooper in American Sniper. Photo by Keith Bernstein – © 2014 – Warner Bros. Entertainment.)