peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2015 01 16 AmericanSniper

American Sniper

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With Christian-from-work, the post bonus blues, or sepias in this case. We tried to get into the 4.15pm at the AMC Loews 600, which was packed, so we schlepped over to AMC River East 21 for the 4.40pm. Had dinner at the Japanese fusion place next door afterwards, and several beers at Harry Caray.

I think Generation Kill is superior as it has more characters and some humour, though both have perfect cinematography. More Scandis may have helped too. Here Eastwood homes in on the sniper himself and appears to have lost most of the subtlety he developed for Gran Torino, and the sardonic winking that went with it; this one is dead serious, and sometimes painfully earnest, all the way along. The story itself is quite sad. The good/evil dichotomy held up throughout the war sections falls apart by the end when we learn the sniper got murdered by a fellow veteran in Texas after his discharge from the Seals, if it hadn't already disintegrated in the scenes with his family. How does mental illness and PTSD inform that dichotomy? I imagine Eastwood having a revised ending already prepared, for when the legal stuff is done, something that evokes his earlier, more complex, moral landscapes. Bradley Cooper is entirely believable.

A. O. Scott has more to say. David Denby too. J. R. Jones at the Chicago Reader. Dana Stevens was late to the party.