American Sniper

I don’t pretend to be a film critic. My favorites are probably silly on the ‘legitimate cinematic reviews’ scale. “American Sniper” was nevertheless a really incredible film. I’ve watched lots of superhero movies. I’ve watched lots of real-hero-sad-ending movies. I’ve watched some war movies, and some ‘gripping whatever-nominated war dramas’. I’ve been peripherally threatened with drafting because of previous qualifications. I’ve been rejected from qualifying for pre-existing conditions. I’ve watched war recreation video games. I’ve never watched one that has made me more proud of and sympathetic of the U. S. Armed Forces and the heroes therein (even and especially when they’re not “the Legend”) than this movie.
I thought I was going to steal my husband away for a movie night that was going to be marginally interesting, but mostly boring guy stuff with an excuse to be with my husband. At work on Thursday, I encountered a People magazine article about the movie and the surviving widow that was sympathetic and interesting enough for me to notice the movie name on the marquee at the theater.
I’m glad I went. The movie was more interesting than I thought it would be, throughout the whole film. The closest I have ever been to war was when my friend “Jay” was deployed during the Iraq war and talked to me for hours at a time from a silly phone and a CAT5 cable sneakily fed to his tent in Kuwait. Nevertheless, I felt the disconnect of both the main character and his wife as they tried to live their lives. I have loved Bradley Cooper since I first saw him in Alias episodes, but this was a truly masterful role. He conveyed the awkwardness so compellingly that I forgot it was a scripted movie. He is credited as a producer and the “real” survivor mentions him as a major creative force, but… He did an incredible acting job. Being heroic, whatever… Being sexy, whatever… Being awkward and uncomfortable and not cool, or not there… I was right there with him because I could see that he wasn’t right there. Emotionally, I ended up being completely invested. From what I saw in the theater, we all were. No one moved until the images stopped. If you can see this film, I recommend you do. Regardless of your opinions on war, understanding someone who wants to defend his nation, his fellow soldiers, his family… It’s compelling.

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