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Kevin's Movie Reviews (6)

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American Sniper 
American Sniper
4/4 stars

After reading and hearing examples of the controversy surrounding this film, and now having seen the film, I am left with more questions than answers. Not about the film. The film is one of the best movies set in wartime that I have seen. It is Eastwood's best directorial work since The Unforgiven, and Cooper's best role to date. No, the questions come for me from the controversy itself. I've heard that the movie is "too patriotic". At what point is that the case? The movie revolves around Kyle's tours in Iraq, and most particularly his role as a sniper. What is it that people want shown? Non-combatant Iraqis, who simply do not factor into the episodes of Kyle's life which are explored? An "alternate point of view", as opposed to the one shown, the one the book the movie is based on is about? The movie doesn't glorify war, and the movie doesn't portray either side's combatants in an unfair light. I've read objections to the use of a small sampling of 9/11 footage. Some thin that in so doing, Eastwood presents those events as a reason to go to war with Iraq, or more specifically with Hussein's regime. With respect to those opinions, that is, in fact, one of the things which that decision. It most assuredly inspired many young men and women to enlist. Whether or not The US should have gone to war is frankly immaterial to the movie's subject. What is more, to somehow suggest that the movie is "too patriotic" is a ridiculous assertion. The movie is about American military personnel - mainly Kyle - fighting as much for their lives as anything else. As for the assertions by some that the role of a sniper is somehow without honor: There's likely no reasoning to be done. War, by definition, puts people in a position of taking lives and protecting those of your own people. To have a skill set which enables a soldier to protect the lives of his own people from a greater distance is no less honorable - and with no lesser risk - than any other combat role. This movie isn't about politics. This is a movie about a heroic man who excelled at what he did. It's about a man who made unimaginably difficult choices both on the field of battle and at home. It's about the toll wars take on the men and women who fight them, and the families they leave behind while doing so. It's about the strengths and weaknesses of the human beings who fight for what they believe in. It's about the ways that the crucible of war changes everyone who has been through it. There should be no expectation or interpretation that the men and women involved - who were never perfect or flawless before the event - would think or behave perfectly.
See the movie. Leave your politics behind you, and see the film for what it is. The result is a moving, powerful, and very sobering portrayal of a highly capable man driven by his own ethics and code to go to, and go back to, war.

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