American Sniper is a film I've been looking forward to for quite some time. I'm a big fan of Clint Eastwood, both as an actor and a director, although especially as an actor. I've enjoyed most of his films, even plenty of the ones that were universally trashed on, such as Hereafter and Jersey Boys. Granted, my review for Jersey Boys saw me trashing on it, but after watching it for a second time on a plane (don't ask me why I did, but I did), I discovered that I enjoyed the film. A lot, actually. With American Sniper, it seemed like Clint Eastwood was making another great movie, after a series of just fine ones. And did he? Why yes he bloody well did. As a matter of fact, I would even go so far as to say he made a much better film than Birdman. Yep, I went there, and I'm probably the only one who ever will go there. Hopefully not.
This man was quite a complicated figure, although I'm sure the same goes for everyone who's ever been to war, and Cooper doesn't disrespect him in the least. Bulking up to suit the part and adding a Texan accent on to perfect it, Cooper not only feels like the man himself, but he acts like him too. He's a tough man who's practically leaking with masculinity, but deep down, there's a lot of horror, stress and anxiety to be found. He's more than just a killing machine and this film shows that.
When the war sequences are on, Eastwood handles them well, providing us with an intense and visceral experience. While the film can sometimes switch between glorifying war and showing it in a negative way, as a whole, Eastwood has done a mighty fine job. I hate war, yet on film it can make for some damn good entertainment. In American Sniper, the war sequences are as gripping as they are loud. They had my eyes glued to the screen, not wanting to reach for my MnMs in fear that I would get distracted and miss something important.
To sum up, American Sniper may have mixed feelings towards war, is a tad too long and feature an obviously fake baby, but with Eastwood behind the camera and Cooper in front, this is a war film that stands up above the rest.