American Sniper (2014). Directed by Clint Eastwood. Starring: Bradley Cooper & Sienna Miller. Based on the book “American Sniper” by Chris Kyle, Scott McEwen, & James Defelice. Distributed by Warner Bros. Nominated for Six Academy Awards, including: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, & Best Adapted Screenplay.

Most of you probably don’t know this, but I used to do occasional movie reviews here on the site. No one read them, and I accidentally deleted all my old articles, so I can’t cite one. But, take my word for it. I think the last one I did was for Nebraska, which was itself an excellent movie. Today, we examine American Sniper. Recently, it has taken a lot of heat due to dumbass people on the left side of the political spectrum claiming that it glorifies war. I don’t think anything could be further from the truth. It’s so far from reality, that I have to wonder if these people aren’t letting their political feelings (and personal feelings about Eastwood) get in the way of an honest judgement. 

Personally, I love Clint Eastwood, and always have. I grew up in a household that valued classic Westerns. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is a top 3 film for me. Gran Torino is a classic. Flags of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima are stellar. Unforgiven is one of the best Westerns ever, and throws conventions out the window. Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby…the list goes on and on. How could anyone disrespect a legend like this?

Well, I think a lot of it has to do with his segment at the Republican National Convention in 2012. Eastwood has always been open about his libertarian beliefs, but this seemed to open the floodgates of criticism. The appearance itself was an unmitigated disaster, of course. But that’s for another day.

The thing about it is, I’m far from a right-winger. I cringed when I saw Clint’s skit with the empty chair. But, I didn’t hold that against him. Shitting on everyone with an opposing political view is foolish, especially when they aren’t a politician in the first place. The biases some lefties carry into the debate blind them from the real truth of the matter.

Here’s some quotes from some well known liberals, which demonstrates what I’m saying:Selection_699Selection_700Selection_702Selection_707

I could cite several more, but you get the point. Still, not to be left out, all the right-wingers are saying it’s validation for their worldview. I hate to pick on a Breitbart editor, since Milo is so based, but John Nolte is just as wrong as the liberals:Selection_701

I watched American Sniper this morning. Anyone saying that this movie glorifies war, or that it’s a defense for the Invasion of Iraq, is missing the point entirely. On the flip-side, people who are saying that Eastwood made some love letter to neoconservative foreign policy, are wrong as well. The film is about neither of those things. At its core, American Sniper is about seeing war through one man’s eyes, and witnessing the toll it takes on his psyche, family, and existence in general.

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The fact of the matter is, this was a man who had controversial real life beliefs. He really did call Iraqi enemies “savages.” It wasn’t just in the film (a common criticism against the movie). He was a guy who believed in the War on Terror. He was one who saw the United States as an idea and promise to worth dying for, and not just a country. Paul Reickhoff, a left-wing Iraq War veteran, put it like this:

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As Reickhoff intimates, the movie is told entirely through the eyes of Chis Kyle (played by Bradley Cooper). Still, Eastwood shows a Chris struggling with the weight of his service and high level of aptitude. Was this the real Kyle? I can’t say. This shows the intentions of the filmmaker, though. Clint focuses in on the death and maiming that takes place in every war. I find myself agreeing with Richard Brody’s take on the film:

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Speaking of Bradley Cooper, he’s amazing in this film. With this performance, he’s solidified himself as one of the best actors of his generation. I already thought him to be, after his Silver Linings Playbook outing. This, however, nails the door shut. He is one of the top actors in Hollywood now. It’s official. He becomes Chris Kyle for this role. You find yourself forgetting that Bradley Cooper is playing someone else. At this early stage, he’s my top pick for Best Actor.

Sienna Miller is amazing, so much so, that I didn’t even recognize her until the second act. I knew very little about this film going in, other than Bradley Cooper was the lead, and Clint Eastwood was the director (I’ve been immersed in GamerGate for five months lol). I had heard awhile back that Miller was in it, but it totally slipped my mind. I was asking myself, “Who is this amazing actress?” The sad thing is, I’ve seen Sienna Miller in at least 15 movies. I don’t know if this is a commentary on my ignorance, lack of sleep, or Ms. Miller’s brilliance. Nonetheless, she is outstanding in this film. I haven’t seen all the other entries yet, so I won’t say she was cheated out of an Oscar nomination (yet).

The supporting cast all do their jobs well, and the directing from Eastwood is some of his best. I was on the edge of my seat repeatedly during American Sniper. The pacing, suspense, and action are all top notch. They even throw in some great overhead (and ominous) shots of Iraq. The whole thing is perfectly done, and I wouldn’t be too surprised if Clint took home another Best Director statuette. This negative PR campaign is designed to take all that away, but keep in mind: they tried the same thing last year with Cate Blanchett (because she was nominative for Blue Jasmine, a Woody Allen film). She won Best Actress. These sorts of campaigns aren’t always successful.

Joe Q. Public obviously doesn’t care. The movie just broke all sorts of records with its release this past weekend:

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Like me, most moviegoers put manufactured SJW controversies behind them when they go see a film. Is it good, or not? That’s the question. I haven’t seen every Best Picture nominee, but I have seen Boyhood (another heavyweight contender). This is the only film that could give it a run for its money so far (keeping in mind I still have to watch Birdman, etc). The closing sequence left me in tears, and that has as much to do with Bradley Cooper’s performance, as anything else. As I said, he’s my early frontrunner for Best Actor. Clint Eastwood has delivered us another classic, and is rapidly moving up the “G.O.A.T.” list. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, make it a point to change that. It’s well worth your time, and is one of the best movies Eastwood has ever made. I think that should be enough to label it highly recommended.

 

TheRalphRating (out of 4 *’s): * * * *

 

 

36 comments
  1. I love that simpering comment about “patriotically killing people in a country that never attacked us”. That motherfucker needs to be punched directly in the mouth. You don’t engage in military actions because someone attacks you. You engage in it to further or preserve your interests. It’s also a little tricky to attack the US since we have two huge fucking oceans on either side of us and good terms with the country north of us and moderately good terms with the one to the south. These fucking ignorant losers who get a little bit of fame and think their opinion actual matters one fucking jot. Disgusting.

    1. I can’t say I find national self-interest particularly in the case of having the last empire, as a compelling reason to invade anything. However I’m a leftie who would have supported the war should Bush have tied gas prices to a certain low amount. That’s my realpolitik.

      What I find disgusting is tying veterans to the wars they fought. Sure one could make an argument that short of a World War II we shouldn’t be having wars. *However that has nothing to do with those serving in those wars as if they and not the civilian politicians were making that call*. That disgusts me. Their hatred of the working class disgusts me. Those pampered fucks telling us what’s right and wrong with the golden spoon in their mouths having never faced adversity in their lives disgusts me.

      1. Lol @ “the last empire”, what is it with people and accusing America of imperialism? Is it because it rose to socio-economic/political dominance after England? To my knowledge the U.S. has never had colonies, and prior to WWI (and hell, not even really until WWII) didn’t get too heavily involved in the affairs of the rest of the world (Washington’s famous advice that U.S. should essentially mind it’s own damn business and it would do fine).

        I can’t think of ANY major power in the last 200 years who hasn’t actively pursued their economic interests in whatever way they saw most fitting; in fact the constant lambasting of “U.S. Imperialism” is a mixture of propaganda from the hippie counter culture movement (which means it can largely be disregarded as reactionary and uninformed) and communism, which just needed a label to stick onto the nation that represented it’s biggest adversary that also aligned with a form of propaganda it had been using since the start.

        I agree, soldiers are most certainly not to be held accountable and judged for the wars they fight; it’s a job and they are there following orders. Now, if they commit some kind of crime while they’re there (and the sjws would say that “killing” is the crime and I would respond that sanctioned kills or kills in an active combat zone do not constitute a crime – if someone shoots at you it’s only reasonable to shoot back, unless you have a death wish, amirite?).

        The elite will always pontificate from on high and fail to recognize their hypocrisy, which is why it’s so nice to knock them down and trample on them every so many centuries. 😉

          1. The U.S. isn’t the only one. If we weren’t the “biggest” fish in the pond, someone else would be. Hell, Russia and China are chomping at the bit. People just throw shade (heh, look a colloquialism) because the U.S. is so assertive. Plus people have this bizarre issue with death and conflict. It happens everyone and it’s usually the only way to deal with people who are ideologically or culturally in opposition to your position. Two opposites can’t coexist in a world were the edges of the map have been filled in. I fucking hate to use “wrong side of history” because there really is no such thing (you just get remembered as a dick if you lose), but factions that aren’t in step with the broad social/economic goals of the world get stepped on. It’s not nice; it’s business.

          1. Imperialism requires the desire to spread and control multiple areas to increase resource production and the power of the ruling class. The U.S. and the rest of the developed world for that matter, are capitalists and pursue an aggressively capitalist agenda. They also happen to be mostly democratic with similar stances on human rights, which puts them at opposition with the region of the world filled with people that Movie Bob was nice enough to describe as “brown people” (I wasn’t aware that ironic racism was ok). Again, you have one side that’s driven humanity forward in a hundred years time more than it’s collective existence and the rest, who would be happy to revert back to living in the bronze age. I’m not cool with that, personally speaking.

    2. “It’s also a little tricky to attack the US since we have two huge fucking oceans on either side of us and good terms with the country north of us and moderately good terms with the one to the south.”

      Yeah, if you’d go by those pansy standards as “they attacked first” you’d never get to attack anyone! How boring would THAT be!

      If to “further or preserve your interest” is all it takes for a war to be justified, there’s not a single unjustified war in all of human history.

      > These fucking ignorant losers who get a little bit of fame and think their opinion actual matters one fucking jot.

      Idk, seems to matter to you.

      Given that he describes himself as left-wing, Ralph probably thinks invading Iraq was wrong, you know. As any reasonable person would think after it became uncontroversially clear that it was started based on two highly motivated false beliefs (one: that Saddam was involved in 9/11 and two: that Saddam had WMD capability). So why are you posting on the blog of this loser who doesn’t matter?

      1. Your first comment doesn’t mean anything, you’re essentially agreeing with me with a sarcastic tone, but not actually disagreeing with the point. However, it seems like you think the only reason to ever engage in a conflict is self-defense, which is beyond fucking stupid.

        You’d have to define what an unjust war is first there skipper, but nice try with the vagueness (it won’t fly here). Do you assume that all nations and cultures are equal? Hardly. The only thing that keeps many of the smaller countries, or the more ideologically repugnant ones (see: North Korea) in one piece is the fact that they are protected by alliances. In the case of North Korea it’s protected by China and that is only because South Korea is an ally with the U.S. and China doesn’t want a U.S. foothold on their border. How about you study some military history before you run at the mouth and look stupid?

        “Seems to matter to me” – that was me expressing my disgust, it wasn’t a point, but just like in the first instance you haven’t got anything meaningful to say so you just rely on sarcasm.

        I can tell you’re either a heinously ignorant adult or an under-educated youth. The invasion of Iraq was indeed based on falsehoods, however at the time those falsehoods were unknown and the only opposition was based on those who were staunchly anti-war. When no “WMDs” were found, it became obvious that something was up. And then it was only 4 little years later that Bush famously contradicted himself saying that the invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with terrorism. He wanted to take out Saddam because he put a hit out on his daddy and Iraq was a huge embarassment for the Bush family. Anyone with a brain knows this.

        I’d love to know why you think you have the right to impugn TheRalph’s past opinions on the subject. People’s opinions are allowed to change with time, especially as they acquire more information. You are quite literally invoking historian’s bias, claiming that present knowledge of obscured events in a controversial issue somehow grants one position superiority over another in context to that issue. Have you ever heard of this thing called “hindsight”?

        I post where I want, when I want and I don’t owe you or anyone else an explanation for it. But I’m feeling generous so I’ll give you a reason, one I know will just piss you right the fuck off:

        The 1st Amendment

        1. > You’d have to define what an unjust war is first

          > If to “further or preserve your interest” is all it takes for a war to be justified,

          I gave you a definition, or rather I used yours. You dismiss talk that this war wasn’t justified with the argument that it furthers and preserves US interests. I pointed out that if that’s enough to dismiss complaints about unjustified wars, then you can dismiss that complain about every war in history. Since every single one of them was pursued in the belief that it furthered or preserved the attackers interest somehow.

          Regarding free speech, by all means do keep writing long rants that make you look like a parody of a spluttering apoplectic right-wing loon.

          1. What war? The one in the movie? I haven’t seen it; I just know people getting bent out of shape about a movie is retarded, especially when they prejudge it because they find the subject matter objectionable. We haven’t quite reached the point of having Departments of government named “MiniTruth” etc (that’s 1984, in case you didn’t know), so this sort of behavior is both inappropriate and inherently wrong.

            You “pointed out that if that’s enough to dismiss complaints about unjustified wars, then you can dismiss that complain about every war in history”, without ever demonstrating that the war was justified from the beginning.

            You are aware that wars can start out justified and turn ugly, or begin on a less-than-just premise and evolve into a necessary conflict, or even vacillate several times, depending on which way the wind blows? Please try and comprehend that even a few thousand human lives, tragic as their loss might be, do not measure up to the goals, ambitions and well being of a nation following the interests its leaders and, ideally, it’s people.

            Contrary to what many people seem to believe, it IS very much a case of US vs Them, with “them” being everyone else. In a perfect world we’d all get along, but so long as there are competing models of leadership, economy and political/social structure, there will be clashes that result in violence. It’s not nice, but it is inevitable.

            Every conflict must be weighed on it’s own merits and since history is a SUMMARY of events, you can never know if something was just or unjust until after the fact (barring the release of earth shattering evidence of deceit during the proceedings, but frankly once you’re elbow deep in a conflict you’re there until you’ve accomplished your goal – otherwise it’s like taking out a loan and not using it properly to at least break even.

            War either arises because two or more cultures are clashing over resources or because they are so distinctly different that they find themselves in enough opposition to engage in hostilities. Conflicting/competing cultures will either see to it that one is destroyed or they will find common ground and exchange something. This is how humans have been behaving for at least 12,000 years and I don’t see it ever changing.

            I’m not right-wing, and right-wing people are not typically pro-free speech for that matter. They operate much in the same vein as left-wing radicals – they want their approved ideology to be the only ideology, and they want to censor everything else. They know full well that their PoV has gaps in it, but they don’t care, because self-righteous indignation is a hell of a drug.

            I am, however, educated on the subject of History, and I will make no apologies for war and how it is conduct, when it is conducted and who is conducting on what premise. As I’ve stated, the roll of History is to chronicle events and analyze them after the fact to draw conclusions (in other words, when you can see the “big picture”). It is a shame our collective systems are so broken that conflicts are propagated in the interests of the FEW, instead of the MANY, but since we all know that, we shouldn’t be surprised by it and feign mock outrage.

    1. It’s rated with the common 4 star rating that’s often used for movies (Ebert used it, for example). There is no set criteria. I grade it against the movies and performances I’ve seen, etc. Seeing new and revolutionary techniques (like with Boyhood) can also bump a score up. Good acting is the key to most highly rated films, though.

  2. Sounds like The Hurt Locker. But there’s this idea that we all have Social Responsibility. So if your movie/film/game/bathroom stall scribbling touches upon the subject of war but doesn’t explicitly say “War Is Bad, Mmkay,” and “corporations are evil” then you are complicit with the Prevailing Narrative and therefore support War Mongering Rightwing Crony Capitalism.

    You know, “you’re with us or against us.” Rather militant, I would say.

    1. Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

      This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

      – President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Addressing the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 16, 1953

  3. You have to remember that the people calling it pro-war are the same people who don’t know the difference between a fable and a fairy tale. Remember, to them, the Little Mermaid teaches little girls to be boy-crazy neurotics who should abandon their culture in the pursuit of becoming a housewife.

  4. I can’t dip into the specifics of this film as I don’t want to pass comment on something I haven’t seen so I’ll just say this:

    If the radical left wants to say that right wing neocon style warmongering is puerile this is one of the rare occasions they’d hear no argument from me, but the central issue really is the same one with gamer gate, not being entertained by that specific piece of art doesn’t grant you an inherent right to act as if it deserves to be censored.

    Movies, like games will be designed with a target audience in mind. Admittedly most won’t be targeted at SJW types (a movie designed around SJW sensibilities would be boring as unholy fuck), but even if they disagree with a particular movie they should just ignore it.

    The disagreement (however moronic the arguments are) I can handle, it’s the acting as if the disagreement gives them a right to censor other people’s art that does, as with gaming, bug me about these SJW types.

  5. When I first saw the commercials for it, I thought that it was Jennifer Gardner, not Sienna Miller, as Kyle’s wife.

  6. Really fantastic review, and I enjoyed reading it. You nailed it as far as Clint Eastwood’s legacy, and talent level. The guy is literally the most talented living person involved in film making. He needs a lifetime achievement award for his acting, and another lifetime achievement award for his directing. He’s defied all expectations and traditions in art, and is making some of his greatest art in his 80s!!!!! The guy is 84 for fuck’s sake. He’s an American treasure. He’s the American Akira Kurosawa.

    I’m liberal, and I thought his chair skit at the RNC convention was laughably bad. But that thought leaves my mind instantly whenever it’s time to watch one of this guy’s films. He’s been killing it since 1955!!!!

    I’m just surprised that even SJWs are not aware of how to view this film, given that the guy literally made Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima. I would think that even they could understand that this is a faithful character study of one specific perspective; not a commentary or judgment on the entirety of the war. That’s not how he makes films, and I think everyone with any appreciation for film history realizes that pretty quickly. He literally could be doing a movie showing the perspective of Al-Qaeda next, and it would be 100% in keeping with his past filmography. And it wouldn’t be “pro Al-Qaeda,” it would be another character study of one perspective.

    Basically, you nailed the review and I really want to go see the movie now. I also loved Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook. By the way, I don’t normally post dumb shit like this, but the guy can play a shockingly badass air guitar also. Worth watching to the end.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1dW8M4EqYY

    1. My first exposure to Cooper was actually in Limitless. If you haven’t seen that, get it. It’s a really cool movie.

  7. if you read the daily beast article bradley talks about how he studied the character through lot’s of material and videos, and that article links to an article about chris’ widow, saying that for a moment she forgot it was an actor on the screen.

  8. I saw the movie and enjoyed it and agree that it really doesn’t have a political message or even Anti-War or Pro-War. Eastwood is a Libertarian though. Yeah he appeared at the RNC for the bizarre chair skit, but I’ve heard him mention several times his displeasure with the modern Neo Conservative Republican party and I could go on for hour about them too lol

    1. ,,,yeah to hear some of these idiots call him and us rightwingers is just an example of how th indoctrinated cannot remove their blinders,,,we got some rightys in here fer surebut leftys as well, hell, we even accept libertarians! (Just kidding libbys, you guys are ok),,,myself im a total cynic who votes but how is none of yer bizness, and unpredictable even to me…i had top keks trolling teabaggers on facebook when they got rolling,just because i grew up in a holler in th Appalachians and was shoved constatntly into a penticostal holiness speaking in tongues church thru muh kiddiehood and i knew what buttons to push and tweak…but im having just ae many keks with th SJWs…isms in general can get rekt,,,and if sjws ever needed anyone for an ally who leaned right or republican, i cant think of a better guy than Clint ( see pic below), except yeah, that chair thing,,,that was pure monkeyhouse batshittery…(hey Professor Proofreader! No paragrrappphs! Lulzy mercy!)

      (Not you Richard, but that last bit was for my biggest fanboy)

  9. Calling this movie a “glorification of war” is the same thing as calling “Saving Private Ryan” a glorification of WWII or deeming “Apocalypse Now” a glowing ode to Vietnam. None of the movies mentioned are saying “HEY KIDS! WAR IS AWESOME!” – they’re stating precisely the opposite. Those films show the death, the pain, the trauma, and the psychological toll that war causes for both soldiers and civilians.

    Honestly, it’s so sad to see people on both sides of the political spectrum abandon critical thinking and put on ideological blinders so they can twist the message of the film in order to suit their narrative. But as we’ve seen the past few months, the media and various celebrities are tripping over themselves to throw out facts and rationality to make way for false narratives and faux – social justice “outrage”.

  10. Pfft. Shit Sniper movie. 0/10. Raspberry Award Nominee for sure.

    Get back to me when they make a movie about a REAL Sniper.

    Simo Hayha.

  11. I don’t really have a issue with War films I remember watching Platoon when I was a kid, great movie.Its just sad that now we have these people getting offended by movies getting made these days. Its not like real Arabs were killed in the making of this film.

  12. Um… is everyone forgetting the elephant in the room? Wasn’t Chris Kyle a pathological liar, yet we are celebrating him anyway? I feel everyone is giving that man a free pass for whatever reason.

  13. there’s a beautifully concise exchange of words from gibbs and a politician on NCIS. politician: you don’t support the war? gibs: no, i support the people fighting it.

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