Tuesday, 3 February 2015

A Pinoy At The Movies: American Sniper

I don't exactly like watching war movies. Why? In these times, one doesn't have to go to the cinema to see war. Just turn on the TV and watch the news. There is always a war going on somewhere. I didn't even watch Brad Pitt's Fury last year.

But this 'war' movie is different and I was glad I watched it. 

American Sniper is about the life of America's best military marksman. Bradley Cooper, who plays a real life hero, Chris Kyle, reminds me of Mark Wahlberg, who played Bob Lee Swagger in Shooter. Although both characters are excellent snipers, Wahlberg's Swagger was a fictional character embroiled in a conspiracy, while Cooper's Kyle was an actual sniper in the Iraqi war embroiled in his own mental issues.

Unlike Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan where we saw a lot of mutilation just on the opening scene, here, Clint Eastwood showed us war casualties, one bullet at a time. Although, Kyle's impressive number of kills already made him a legend in the Iraq War, it's his struggle to be a normal father and husband back in his family in Texas made everyone realize he's human after all.

This makes Clint Eastwood's movie a very good one, just like his Gran Torino film; so easy to watch. His style of storytelling about a soldier and a father forced us to ask the question on whether which conflict was more important for him to win. Bradley Cooper's portrayal of this soldier who was very brave at war, but seemed so vulnerable and weak when back home was outstanding. He even pulled off a Texan accent.

Although the movie ran for more than two hours, Eastwood and his editors made sure each minute counted. I was especially impressed how he staged the final encounter between the American soldiers and the insurgents in the middle of a huge sandstorm. The last scene showing the actual footage of Chris Kyle's funeral procession (yes, he was killed but not in a place you'd expect) was very moving and sad. Do note that there isn't any music nor sound playing when that scene starts.

Do watch American Sniper. It's not just a war movie.

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