Although the kind of films that are overtly and overly patriotic, have a simple plot, and only one leading character are not usually my cup of tea, I still think American Sniper is worth watching. Let me tell you why.
Let’s start with the great performance given by Bradley Cooper who plays the role of the tough yet tormented Chris Kyle. Cooper has already made his transition to the world of serious films in 2009 but in this one he really proves that he can handle the load as he practically carries the plot and serves as the focal point of the entire film. Of course, Clint Eastwood deserves his praise for this casting since Cooper really does come across as the quintessential American soldier.
As for the plot, it is rather straightforward. The Texas-born-and-raised Chris Kyle finds his true destiny in the U.S. Army. Tough and macho as he is, he has no problem becoming a sniper at the Navy Seals, where his deadly talent reveals itself. Chris journeys to Iraq three times in service of his country. But by the third time he and everyone around him, including the viewer, questions whether the 255 kills have turned him into a killing machine that no longer knows what else to be.
The depth of emotion and inner conflict that would naturally arise in someone who went through what Chris did compensate for the simplicity of the plot. Nevertheless, the film does seem to be extremely patriotic without getting into the justification of that patriotism. And while the actual killing of people definitely seems takes its toll, the justification of the war in Iraq, or the U.S. foreign policy for that matter, is not discussed at all. It seems that in a film that claims to be a political war film these issues should have at least been touched upon.
All this did not prevent the film from being nominated an Oscar for various categories and to be one of the greatest successes of 2014. Politics aside, the film does portray a true psychological dilemma that faces those who are at war and for that it is worth watching.