An American Sniper

I’ve been really lax about blogging lately – mainly because I didn’t find anything interesting enough to make me want to share my thoughts. Maybe it’s just the mid-winter blahs. To blog or not to blog may be the theme of a future post.

In any case, last night daughter-Megan and I saw American Sniper, and my inner blogger felt compelled to write something about the movie. Given all the hype about the movie – the biggest January box office ever, and the all the pro-war and anti-war commentary it generated – I thought I would be in for a treat. (Regardless of my generally pacifist sentiments, I’ve always enjoyed a good war movie. FuryHurt Locker and Inglorious Basterds are good examples of recent war movies that I found compelling and/or entertaining.) And even if the movie wasn’t all that great, it could feed my compulsion to argue its pro- or anti-war sentiments.

For me, the movie failed on all counts. First of all, it wasn’t a very good movie. I found nothing new in its treatment of a soldier who does his duty well and has difficulty returning to civilian life. Technically, it was good in re-creating Iraqi battles, but the scenes themselves didn’t get my blood pumping. In fact, I almost fell asleep during the last battle scene. The scenes from his home leaves are well done, but again there was nothing new that moved me.

As for the political stance of the movie, I didn’t see any. Other than the scenes where Kyle is watching the Nairobi Embassy bombing and later watching the Twin Towers fall on TV, there was no background of his motivation to join the Armed Forces other than being a failed rodeo cowboy. There is certainly no discussion of whether or not the Americans should have been in Iraq in the first place. And even though there is no depth to the Iraqi characters, they are not totally dehumanized either. It’s just a guy doing an ugly job exceptionally well without a whole lot of thought or introspection.

So in my five-star scale, this movie rates no better than two. In other words, wait till it comes out on Netflix, and don’t waste your money at the theater.

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