American Sniper - Review

Bradley Cooper as US Navy Seal sniper, Chris Kyle in 'American Sniper'.
Bradley Cooper as US Navy Seal sniper, Chris Kyle in 'American Sniper'.

If you say anything bad about Chris Kyle in particular parts of America you are likely to receive death threats.

Clint Eastwood’s latest film focuses on the life of sniper Kyle who accumulated 160 confirmed kills out of 255 probable kills whilst serving as a US Navy Seal in Iraq.

Sienna Miller plays Kyle's wife, in 'American Sniper'.

Sienna Miller plays Kyle's wife, in 'American Sniper'.

The truth about this film is that it’s anything but truthful. Kyle might be the most deadly sniper in the history of the American armed forces but if the truth be told he was a hate filled killer who took great delight in killing, as he put it, “the damn savages”.

Eastwood is a staunch supporter of Republicanism and a harsh critic of Barack Obama so it’s inevitable that a film of such subject matter will include more examples of jingoism than a UKIP party political broadcast.

Cooper portrays Kyle as a sharp-shooter with a conscience but let us park the fact versus fiction debate for one moment.

As a stand alone piece of cinema, ‘American Sniper’ is entertaining and the gun battles set in Iraq come with a tempo entirely of their own.

Be that as it may as I watched the film I couldn’t help but be reminded of just how utterly outstanding Kathryn Bigelow’s 2008 film ‘The Hurt Locker’ was.

‘American Sniper’, whilst satisfying, does not even come close to surpassing or indeed equalling Bigelow’s film.

It lacks power and punch and feels utterly depressing and vacuous at times.

Cooper is good as the leading man and Millar is impressive as his loving and frequently sidelined wife, Taya.

One aspect of the film that annoyed me in particular was how director Eastwood made each and every Iraqi and Arab character in the film feel utterly one dimensional.

Perhaps the most diabolic sequence of the film happens about half way through when Eastwood presents us with an Iraqi sniper killing American soldiers.

It’s a pathetic attempt at trying to provide understanding to what it is and continues to be a very complex situation.

‘American Sniper’ is full of good action but take it all with a giant handful of salt.