The Alpha Male Syndrome

American Sniper

american_sniper

Director: Clint Eastwood

Cast: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Luke Grimes, Jake McDorman, Eric Close, Kier O’ Donnell, Jonathan Groff

After Bradley Cooper’s amazing performances in two of director David O. Russell’s films Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle, Cooper utterly transforms himself physically for the role of Chris Kyle, the most honoured sniper in the American military in director Clint Eastwood’s sparse and taut war film American Sniper.

Cooper plays the ultimate Alpha Male, who is taught to hunt as a boy by his masochistic father and is heavily influenced by the notions of God, country and family something that pervades most of the Republican ethos of Texas. Kyle’s unsuccessful career as a cowboy rodeo rider is short lived after he decides through a series of mediated Television coverages first of the 1998 bombing of the American Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and then more crucially in the historic events of 9/11 that he must do his part in protecting America from the ever growing threat of Al-Qaeda and join the almighty US military.

Kyle joins the auspicious navy seals and through a rigorous training programme soon transforms into an Alpha male, a lean, mean fighting machine ready to protect American borders at any cost. Kyle is not interested in the politics of the situation, his unrelenting patriotism drives him to commit to the US war effort with an unflinching ferocity.

At Kyle’s wedding to the flirty yet insubstantial Taya following a bar room pickup, he is soon called up to fight in Iraq. Fallujah to be exact, which is hell on earth and symbolic of urban terror and warfare at its most bloodiest.

Kyle’s special gifts as a sniper are put to good use although controversially his targets are not always his equals in those he kills. Sometimes he is forced to pull the trigger on woman and children, a decision which haunts him profoundly on his return trips to the States, where his pregnant wife Taya is attempting to establish some form of domestic bliss.

american_sniper_ver3

Something which Kyle after witnessing and participating in the atrocities of a vicious war in a foreign land, finds himself difficult to reconcile with. Kyle’s shock at being back in American domestic life is akin to the World War One soldiers suffering from shell shock after attempts at reintegration have failed.

After spending four tours in Iraq at the height of the US-Led invasion of Iraq from 2003 onwards and over 1000 days in a conflict zone, any recourse to settle down is a long way off. This conflict between Kyle’s wartime experiences and his scenes with his wife and children back home, especially those between him and Taya, played by Sienna Miller, is not as convincingly portrayed as in Kathryn Bigelow’s superb war drama The Hurt Locker.

Unlike Zero Dark Thirty which delved into the complexity of the American invasion in Iraq and Afghanistan and the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, American Sniper clears politics from the cinematic palette, making it a much harsher film especially the unnerving scenes in Iraq which Kyle handles with an intensity and bravado which Cooper imbues with his complete physical transformation. In short Bradley Cooper utterly captivates the audience with his tragic and sombre performance of Chris Kyle, a quintessentially doomed American hero.

Eastwood’s direction is steady and besides the domestic scenes which are questionable due to Sienna Miller not having the emotional resonance to make Taya Kyle utterly believable, the warzone sequences are utterly riveting and Bradley Cooper’s performance as Chris Kyle lifts this films out of being just another patriotic tribute to American heroism especially considering the bizarre circumstances of Kyle’s tragic end to his life, which is underscored with irony and a profound message about America’s constant fascination with artillery and the second amendment.

American Sniper is an excellent film, highly recommended viewing for those that enjoyed The Hurt Locker and Fury and is sure to spark controversial debate especially in light of the current Geo-political tensions occurring between America and the Middle East specifically Iraq and Syria.

 

Comments are closed.

Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
February 2015
M T W T F S S
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
232425262728  
  • Fipresci Prizes ‘Leila’s Brothers,’ ‘The Blue Caftan,’ ‘Love According to Dalva’
    Just hours before this year’s Cannes Palme d’Or prize announcement, the International Federation of Film Critics (Fipresci) has awarded “Leila’s Brothers” its International Critics’ Prize for best film inCannes main competition.   The title is pointed. Leila has four brothers, but it is Leila, played by Iranian star Taraneh Alidoosti (“The Salesman), who dominates proceedings, […]
    John Hopewell
  • Cannes Buyers Flock to Leonor Serraille’s Competition Film ‘Mother and Son’ (EXCLUSIVE)
    MK2 Films has locked major territory deals on Leonor Serraille’s drama “Mother and Son” which world premiered in competition at the Cannes Film Festival and garnered strong reviews. “Mother and Son” charts the lives of a young African woman, Rose, and two of her four children, Jean and Ernest, who come to France from the […]
    elskes
  • The Kid Laroi Re-Signs With Scooter Braun for Management
    The saga of The Kid Laroi’s management continues. The Australian singer has re-signed with Scooter Braun for management, a month after deciding to exit Adam Leber’s Rebel Management, Variety has confirmed. Braun’s SB Projects roster includes Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, J Balvin, Dan + Shay and Tori Kelly, among others. Laroi first signed […]
    Shirley Halperin
  • ‘All That Breathes,’ ‘Mariupolis 2’ Win Cannes Documentary Awards
    Indian filmmaker Shaunak Sen’s “All That Breathes” has won the Cannes Film Festival’s top documentary award, the Golden Eye. The film won the documentary grand jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year and was acquired by HBO Documentary Films during Cannes, where it played as a special screening. Set in Indian capital […]
    Naman Ramachandran
  • Pedro Almodovar Endorses Alauda Ruiz De Azua’s ‘Lullaby’: ‘It’s the Best Spanish Debut For Years’ (EXCLUSIVE)
    Pedro Almodóvar has put his considerable weight behind Spaniard Alauda Ruiz de Azúa’s first feature, ”Lullaby” (“Cinco Lobitos”) as it has initiated a spirited run at Spain’s box office. “It is undoubtedly the best debut in Spanish cinema for years,” Almodóvar announced in a statement, describing the mother-daughter relationship drama as “a portrait of the […]
    John Hopewell
  • Read More
    Different providers offer different cell phones, so take a look at the options from each provider to choose the right one for you. You may also want to look into any promotions that the providers have to offer, such as free cell phones in exchange for signing a contract. Tags: 2gmhass90