Monday, January 26, 2015

Just A Quickie Please: American Sniper Review

Bar none, this is Eastwood's finest directorial feature and, without a doubt, the performance of Cooper's career.  Eastwood has done what few can.  He has taken a non-fiction, autobiographical account, that in and of itself, is thoroughly engaging, deeply moving, and, many times, downright terrifying as it accurately depicts the comradery, courage, sacrifices, and overall hell of war.  And fleshed it out into an absolutely genuine, exhilarating, and utterly immersive experience.   He is able to honor and dignify the heroes of combat and their unimaginable challenges and choices without glorying war.  And devolving into an overtly preachy military propaganda piece or painting the brave men and women who preserve and protect our liberties in a typical Hollyweird, barbarically disgraceful light.   Cooper presents Kyle in such an authentic and honorable way, that you quickly transcend from an audience member, to friend, and, by the end of the film, grateful family.   From the cinematography and effects aspect, it is horrifying and compelling in both sweep and scope.  As its accuracy in tension and violence escalates and wanes with such reality, you quickly trade the comfort zone of your theater seats for the edge of them.  You may already know the end of the story.  But that predictability is eclipsed, erased by the sheer emotion of facing it after struggling with Cooper's Kyle and his family through four grueling tours of duty and its aftermath.   The end credits provide a well-deserved homage to his memorial service, and the lack of music afterward, as the credits roll, create a heartbreaking somberness that is stark, humbling, and indescribably sobering.  Thank you, Mr. Kyle, for being the man willing to take the shot and carry the weight of every bullet fired to safeguard the soldiers who risk everything for the freedom of strangers.  Thanks to all of our American heroes!  5 out 5 Kernels: I am calling it now, this is the best film of 2015.    

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