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Author Topic: Who Saw AMERICAN SNIPER? Members' Comments (NO SPOILERS, PLEASE)  (Read 21330 times)
AKA23
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« on: December 19, 2014, 09:22:05 AM »

It's time to get our traditional "members' comments" threads started.

We welcome all thoughts and comments and even full-fledged reviews of the film, but please... NO SPOILERS IN THIS THREAD.

 If you feel that what you want to say about the film may spoil it for those who haven't yet seen it, then please post in our SPOILERS thread for American Sniper: http://www.clinteastwood.org/forums/index.php?topic=10002.0
« Last Edit: December 19, 2014, 09:51:21 AM by AKA23 » Logged
AKA23
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« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2014, 09:52:05 AM »

I saw this last night. I think whether or not you will enjoy this will depend on your own views and perspectives of the actions that it depicts. The movie is well directed and edited. Bradley Cooper does a nice job as Chris Kyle. The relationship that Kyle has with his wife, who is played by Sienna Miller, seems real and heartelt.

The battle scenes are particularly well done, and Eastwood doesn't shy away from showing the true horrors of war. The movie does a good job of immersing the viewer in what it feels like to be on the frontlines of battle. It also shows the soldiers who return home scarred, both psychologically as well as physically.

If those are the only things you care about, you'll like this movie. If you are looking for a relatively uncritical biopic of Chris Kyle which repeatedly showers him with praise and shows multiple people calling him a "legend" or a "hero" for his involvement in killing over 160 people, you'll like this movie. If, however, you are looking for a film which views Chris Kyle's actions with a critical eye, and probes the moral and ethical implications of being a sniper whose job it was to massacre so many people, you, like me, will be sorely disappointed. Beyond platitudes like God and country, I never knew what motivated Chris Kyle to do what he did, and the movie provides little to no context about the wars in which he fought.

I went into this film with an open mind. After being dismissive of this project when I first heard about it, I was excited to see Eastwood's film, and was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, but it's hard for me to believe that this film, which depicts Chris Kyle as a hero, and calls the Iraqi people "savages" repeatedly, is made by the same man who made "Unforgiven" and "Letters from Iwo Jima." There is no attempt whatsoever to humanize the experiences of the Iraqis who fought in these battles. There are no fully realized Iraqi men or women in this movie. Everyone on the other side of the conflict is a caricature whose only purpose seems to be to be killed. There are few if any scenes of any Iraqi people who helped the American forces, or how it feels to have soldiers knock down the doors of innocent Iraqis by soliders searching for the enemy. There is no attempt to try to separate those who were truly evil from those who might have just been trying to reclaim their homeland from what they saw as a foreign invasion, or how it feels to go from being oppressed by one's leaders to being dehumanized by the men who they were told were coming to liberate their country. If you're looking for that, my recommendation would be for you to watch "Homeland," not "American Sniper."

This isn't a movie that questions or criticizes the use of violence, as "Unforgiven," "Mystic River," "Letters from Iwo Jima," and "Gran Torino" did. It's a movie that sees the actions of Chris Kyle as not only necessary but as heroic. The movie does depict how it feels to be a solider fighting in these conflicts, but it doesn't depict at all how it feels to be on the other side. I get why Taya Kyle is so happy with this movie. It depicts her husband as a hero and sees the men who he fought against as people who deserved to be killed. If that's what you're looking for, you'll get it in this movie.

Chris Kyle doesn't seem to be bothered by any of the actions that are depicted in this film. While that may have been true to life, and can be explained away on that basis, what is even more troubling is that none of the other people in the movie seem to be bothered by his actions either. One of his service members lightly questioned what they were doing, but he was perfunctorily dismissed, and convinced that it was time to go kill some more savages. I was deeply troubled by this, but perhaps the kind of intelligence that this line of reasoning requires is a luxury that those who are on the frontlines of battle simply either don't have or cannot afford. Someone who is prone to this type of probing probably wouldn't become a sniper in the first place.

Those who fought in these wars deserve to be taken care of when they come home. After fighting for our country, they shouldn't have to face their struggles alone. This movie does a nice job of showing that, but that doesn't mean that their actions have to be celebrated. I think you can support our troops and want them to be taken care of but also question some of the things that were done. But Eastwood wasn't interested in making that movie. He was interested in making this one, and I find that to be ashame.

I would have liked to have seen more of a critical probing of Chris Kyle and of the war in which he fought. I would have liked to have seen some fully realized, human characters on the other side. I would have liked to have seen something other than a piece of American propaganda. It is well made propaganda, but it is propaganda, and I expect more from the man who has spent the latter half of his career probing, questioning, and criticizing the use of violence in his films.

If you're looking for a well made action film, you'll like this movie. If you're looking for something smarter, something deeper, something more human, you sadly won't find it in "American Sniper."
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Christopher
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« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2014, 04:06:14 PM »

Was there a special screening you were able to make it to, AKA? I know it's supposed to open in limited release on Christmas day, so there's a chance I might not be able to make it to see it until it opens wide in January.
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AKA23
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« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2014, 04:15:47 PM »

Was there a special screening you were able to make it to, AKA? I know it's supposed to open in limited release on Christmas day, so there's a chance I might not be able to make it to see it until it opens wide in January.

Yes, I went to a special screening. If anyone has any specific questions that they'd like to ask about the movie or anything they'd like to know more about, feel free to ask and I'll try to answer your questions.

I think this screening was hosted by a veteran's organization, but there are invitations for regular people like me to go to these screenings in my area all the time. I don't know whether there will be in your area or not, but if you'd like me information for how to sign up for early movie screenings, PM me. I'd be happy to share with anyone who is interested.
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Tuco93
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« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2014, 04:37:37 PM »

Hi guys  i m new and i don t know if it's the right post to introduce myself.  I m italian and because of it sorry  for my english.  I m fan of clint eastwood  movies  and searching  for news about  american sniper  i found  this  forum. I havent seen  the movie yet,  it Comes out in january  here in italy  But i would  comment the user review. The Early italian reviews  are good, in italy  and europe  clint is really  beloved, And i Read by the italian reviews that the movie doesn t want  to glorify  Chris  kyle But it shows  the story  without sentences so anyone  can develope  is own idea. If  it's so, i m happy  because it s a Way to Tell a story that clint usually  do Very Well.  In fact in my opinion  his  best movie is mystic river that is a movie that never tell openly what is the moral  meaning  of the movie,in fact  someone  wrongly thinks it s a bad movie because it s has good  ending for the bad people. It s wrong and it s doesn t mean that clint is favorable in killing innocent  people.  So i have  faith  in this movie  and i think that we should  watch  it in a right way
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KC
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« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2014, 07:04:57 PM »

Thanks for your post, Tuco93, and welcome to the Board! :)
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AKA23
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« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2014, 08:31:16 AM »

Hi guys  i m new and i don t know if it's the right post to introduce myself.  I m italian and because of it sorry  for my english.  I m fan of clint eastwood  movies  and searching  for news about  american sniper  i found  this  forum. I havent seen  the movie yet,  it Comes out in january  here in italy  But i would  comment the user review. The Early italian reviews  are good, in italy  and europe  clint is really  beloved, And i Read by the italian reviews that the movie doesn t want  to glorify  Chris  kyle But it shows  the story  without sentences so anyone  can develope  is own idea. If  it's so, i m happy  because it s a Way to Tell a story that clint usually  do Very Well.  In fact in my opinion  his  best movie is mystic river that is a movie that never tell openly what is the moral  meaning  of the movie,in fact  someone  wrongly thinks it s a bad movie because it s has good  ending for the bad people. It s wrong and it s doesn t mean that clint is favorable in killing innocent  people.  So i have  faith  in this movie  and i think that we should  watch  it in a right way

Thanks so much for your comment. I think this is definitely Eastwood's best directed film since "Letters from Iwo Jima." The action scenes are really well done, and given the complexity of the shoot, that's pretty impressive for a director who was 84 years old at the time of production.

I was disappointed in the film because I wanted to see something less jingoistic and more contemplative. Something that was more objective and which discussed the moral and ethical quandaries of these wars, and the actions Chris Kyle took while representing our country. However, the movie is faster paced than Eastwood's movies usually are, and I think this will be better received by audiences than his post-"Gran Torino" projects have been.
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Richard Earl
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« Reply #7 on: December 25, 2014, 07:19:01 PM »

I am looking forward to this movie!
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Walt
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« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2015, 05:21:22 AM »

Thanks for that review AKA23. I was a bit worried that this might turn out to be exactly as you had described. I'll wait for the dvd.
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AKA23
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« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2015, 10:00:16 AM »

Thanks for that review AKA23. I was a bit worried that this might turn out to be exactly as you had described. I'll wait for the dvd.

This movie seems to have the best critical and commercial reception of any film Eastwood has done since "Gran Torino," so I wouldn't let my review dissuade you from seeing this movie in the theater, Walt. I was hoping for something a little more like "Letters from Iwo Jima," but Eastwood clearly wasn't interested in making that kind of film. Since what he did make most seem to find very entertaining, I'd encourage you to check it out. Mine is only one man's opinion after all!
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Tuco93
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« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2015, 02:08:48 PM »

I have seen the movie yesterday! In italy it's gonna be a SMASH HIT, the best box office result for eastwood (now gran torino is his best) and one of the best result of last 12 months (maybe the best, surpassing maleficent). I saw it yesterday and i liked it. It's not perfect, but clint is still a strong director. The war scenes are very good, the problem of the movie is the fact that the sequences in the usa are superficial and lack of deep. In my opinion all the facts about the politic and things like this are not true, maybe the movie sees Kyle like an hero, yes, but the war is seen in a neutral way. And, surprise, at the end of the movie there is a song from ENNIO MORRICONE!
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higashimori
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« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2015, 08:03:39 PM »

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« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2015, 02:52:19 PM »

Saw the 12pm show today and couldn't believe it sold out...(lucky I got there early).  Found out after seeing the movie that the rest of the shows for today were already sold out and that half the shows for tomorrow were already sold out.  No doubt this will be the biggest opening box office for any Clint directed movie.

Now for the movie.  While war is not my favorite film genre, this movie was very well made.  The war scenes were tense and the film didn't drag at all.  I thought it depicted soldiers doing their thing in the war in Iraq better than any movie that I've seen... very realistic.  Cooper was very good in the lead role but I don't see him winning the Oscar for it.  I thought that contrasting the scenes of Kyles's home life with his life at war in Iraq showed quite well what a soldier has to deal with.  The Morricone song was a great touch that brought goose bumps.  I'd give it a 4/5 rating.
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« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2015, 06:06:25 AM »

I'm way behind with my movies. Haven't even seen Jersey Boys yet. I have to wait for it to come out on dvd. It didn't come out in theaters. I will wait if this comes out to theaters. I really wish it does, I can't see the imdb dates now on my phone. It seems it might be worth to watch. 😊
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« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2015, 09:41:56 AM »

The IMDb has March 6 as the release date for Finland, so I hope you'll get to see it! :)
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« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2015, 11:43:48 AM »

^^

KC , have you seen it ?
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« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2015, 07:37:37 PM »

I have. As usual it is taking me a while to get my thoughts together. It is a very powerful film and has many obvious points of contact with Eastwood's earlier works. There is a long dialogue running through his body of work about violence, its uses and misuses, and this film fits right in there, as it does in his now lengthy series of films about what it means to be a warrior, what it means to be a killer, what it means to be (or to be seen as) a hero. Cooper's performance is absolutely perfect, and I thought the domestic scenes were just what was needed to break the total-immersion intensity of the battle scenes.

I feel it was so totally centered on Chris Kyle's point of view that it's entirely up to the audience to read in a meaning about the larger context of the war, if they feel obliged to do so. For this man, then and there, there was nothing he could do that was not compelled by the absolute necessity of the moment. That was his life and there was no other way he could have lived it.

That's all I can think of just now, but I'll try to say more once I've seen it again.
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« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2015, 09:13:10 PM »

KC - very well put.  I think I pretty much have the exact same thoughts on the movie that you state.  I agree as well that the film is absolutely from Kyle's point of view and a character study of him.  I think the film would have bogged down if the whole story was set in Iraq with Kyle hunting down and/or killing people.... the domestic scenes threw in a more personal feel to the film.  One other thought I had that might not be talked about enough is Tom Stern's cinematography.. simply magnificent. 
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Perry
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« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2015, 09:33:04 PM »


Saw it today. Good movie. Certainly I agree it's Eastwood's best overall movie since 'Gran Torino.' I really dont have much else to say as a review.  It's nice to see the story of Kyle being brought to attention and Eastwood's movie on top of Box Office Mojo, but  as a Best Picture?? no. 
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« Reply #19 on: January 19, 2015, 05:32:13 AM »

Damn,I´ll have to wait till 6 March 2015 to see the film according to imdb.com  :(
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