Rating: Pretty Damn Good
Honestly, if you look at this movie without knowing that it’s based on a real American’s life, the movie isn’t actually that amazing. That’s why it got a Pretty Damn Good rating, instead of a Rocked rating. The story lacks focus, and its message isn’t delivered clearly.
It’s almost as if it couldn’t decide if it was trying to be Black Hawk Down or Jacknife (somewhat lesser known movie that deals specifically with soldiers struggling to integrate back into everyday life) and kept flip flopping between the two so much that at the end the revelations made by the main character seem anticlimactic.
The reason I’m pointing all this out now is I think that if you go into this movie not expecting the greatest telling of a soldier’s struggle to have ever been filmed, you won’t be disappointed. In the end, it is a very good movie, but hype can sometimes lead to disappointment, so my hope is beating it up a little will help everyone to give the movie a fair chance not anticipating perfection.
Do not expect another “Lone Survivor” with this one. American Sniper is almost entirely a drama with bits of war sprinkled in, as opposed to a war movie with dramatic moments in it. It’s almost as if the war time scenes are there simply to add tension and make the scenes of home life seem almost alien and help you to understand why a soldier can feel a bit uncomfortable in a casual “civilian” setting.
What you may not like:
-Unfocused storytelling that prevents the movie from making a rock solid message
-The film feels rushed, there’s so much to discuss that key moments in Chris Kyle’s life are sort of leafed through to save time, the movie was entertaining enough it could have been longer if it would help flesh things out.
-Dragging points, in spite of it feeling rushed there was a lot of time spent on things that didn’t really pull you in to what ultimately became the overall message of the movie and didn’t help illustrate it, time could have been saved from those scenes and used to flesh out more of Chris Kyle’s struggle with his inner demons and his eventual triumph (if one can ever truly triumph) over them.
-Anticlimactic key moments, things that should have made you erupt in applause, burst into tears etc. weren’t given much of a crescendo at all.
What you’ll love:
-Amazing acting from Bradley Cooper he plays it perfectly. Not just because he kind of looks like him, but because he plays that “teetering on the brink” character so well, and this let him add a new dimension to that with the introverted body language and tension of someone poised and ready to fire without an enemy to unleash on.
-Great messages. In spite of the movie feeling unfocused, the movie says a lot in a short amount of time. I would think it’s a great movie to help understand what a loved one is going through when they come back from combat. Even if they never fire a shot, it’s such a different environment, different practices and behaviors, it makes it clear why people can feel so out of place at home.
-A good ending, things are wrapped up and finally the messages all come together in one clear point, that we can find our way back to ourselves if we fight for it, that we are all warriors struggling in battles and we need to push forward and keep going, because in some ways you can always come home, you just have to be ready to.
Again, I’m only giving the movie a hard time because I don’t want you getting that disappointment that follows any over-hyped movie. It’s a great movie, you’re going to enjoy it, just don’t expect the world. At the end of the day, it’s still a movie, things won’t be perfect, but that’s never the point. The point is to tell a story that teaches a moral lesson that one can take home, and to do it in an entertaining and engaging way. This movie definitely does that.
I would also say that it’s worth seeing in theaters and not waiting for Netflix or watching it bootlegged because there’s certain scenes that are meaningless without the big sound and big screen.
Thanks for reading, let me know what you thought in the comments.
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