Thursday, 15 January 2015


With head planted solidly in the sandstorm, Clint Eastwood conspires to make his version of one man's version of history. American Sniper is a sturdy, technically exemplary war film, a substandard drama and a slice of deplorable moralising on the notion of heroism. Another young, white, American male, bent on fixing a world that has changed beyond his recognition, whether those changes are justifiable or not, reasonable or not, popular or not. Indeed, his concerns reside comfortably within his beloved country's borders, for the most part; he rages against the mere potential for change, fighting a vengeful fight in a far-off place for the sake of asserting his superiority. American Sniper is about this young, white, American male lashing out at what few aspects of global society do not fully accept that superiority, triumph of the modern, masculine will, the chronicle of an individual's failed struggle to fit this world to his liking, rather than fit himself to its. He failed, but his failure helped to ensure that so many others would not fail. It's heroism for people who don't even need heroes. American Sniper the political statement is intolerable, even in its block-headedness, since that permits its innate ugliness to fester unseen and unabated. American Sniper the movie is a more mixed bag, gratifyingly. It's unquestionable that Eastwood flunks many of his dramatic moments, particularly those set in the U.S., with prosaic staging and ostentatious editing. In Iraqi action sequences, he displays restrained flair and a keen sense of the application of staple cinematic elements in creating intensity. Even here, though, he seems not to notice when the tone collapses into comical parody, but those occasions are sparse. You walk away recalling that thrilling sandstorm, and this film's horrible, irresponsible bastardisation of the truth and celebration of the repugnant.