"He was a hero doing and saying the things a hero should, and Eastwood is too tongue-tied to prevent this unexamined jingoism from echoing through the multiplex." Amy Nicholson.
"Eastwood wants to cast our morally complex modern wars into “good vs. evil” in a movie that places the blame for the toll on a faceless other. “American Sniper” will surely resonate with an audience that wants an old-school war hero, but I can't get past that." Brad Keefe.
While it is about a certain type of bravery, the film itself is not brave. Dehumanizing the enemy is common in almost any conflict, particularly for snipers, who see their foes up close. If you regard your target as a savage or an infidel, it’s easier to squeeze the trigger. As Laura Miller wrote in Salon: “In Kyle’s version of the Iraq war, the parties consisted of Americans, who are good by virtue of being American, and fanatic Muslims whose ‘savage, despicable evil’ led them to want to kill Americans simply because they are Christians.” The problem is that the film makes no attempt to tell us anything beyond Kyle’s limited comprehension of what was happening. Among other things, it ignores and dishonors the scores of thousands of Iraqis who fought alongside American forces and the hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians who were killed or injured in the crossfire. If a movie is well acted and nicely shot and carries the viewer along, that is enough to earn five stars in their reviews, because history does not matter to them. (paraphrased Peter Maass)
The film itself follows a singular story line. There are no mindlessly gory but this real-life story is also intentionally crafted so that the protagonist appears highly glorified. This film looks real but its not rooted in the real world. The Iraqis are shown like "savage" animals filled with hate for the Americans, attacking like wild beasts.
Despite the admirable acting in the film, for me, it rings hollow inside. The film is uninterested in the basic question, which is, what was the moral cost of killing people? It only tells us that vengeance killing is morally justified. In the end he was another soldier who couldn't leave the war behind and this film is as moral black-and-white. It like Nazis German officers who justified their actions by saying that they were only doing their job on the battlefield. Doesn't sound very honourable.
"In many ways there are traces of Eastwood’s experience and knowledge of westerns that can be seen in the way Sniper stages scenes of gunplay – or even the thrilling anticipation of gunplay. The Middle Eastern terrain recalls badlands and crowded towns from old westerns, with a lot of similar tropes played for great effect (big showdowns and shootouts in a town square, rooftop ambushes, etc.). As evidenced by the trailers and TV commercials, many of American Sniper‘s big action sequences are wrought with tension and suspense, and are constructed with meticulous detail to both combat tactics and visual storytelling. In short: the action sequences in the film are well done and exciting and make American Sniper worthy of the price of admission for action fans. " Kofi Outlaw. Yes, training is grueling, but it is not sadistic. Yes battle is jarring and horrific, but also dusty and boring. Yes some soldiers think the effort is pointless, but others believe the effort is profoundly important.
"For a combat veteran, an invitation to go shooting with Kyle—perhaps the world’s best sharpshooter—was like being asked to play golf with Tiger Woods. He was the deadliest sniper in U.S. history. During four tours in Iraq he scored more than 150 confirmed kills, with another 100 probable.
He had planned the target-practice outing as a way to help Routh as he had helped other troubled soldiers. Routh’s mother Jodi reached out to Kyle for help. But it ended, according to the sheriff, with Kyle and Littlefield both shot dead by Routh.
Precisely what happened next remains unknown. Police said that Routh was driving the truck of victim and ex-Navy SEAL Chris Kyle at the time of arrest. Authorities found Routh walking nearby with no shirt and no shoes, and smelling of alcohol. None of those address the central mystery. Kyle was a killer who became a healer. How could he so suddenly be transformed again, into a victim? A survey of 1,388 veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq found that poverty led to more reports of aggression than PTSD. Substance abuse and a criminal record increase the chances of trouble."
“In his memoir, Kyle reportedly described killing as “fun”, something he “loved”; he was unwavering in his belief that everyone he shot was a “bad guy”. “I hate the damn savages,” he wrote. “I couldn't give a flying fuck about the Iraqis.” He bragged about murdering looters during Hurricane Katrina, though that was never substantiated. He loved guns and wanted to make sure people could handle them safely. He was the first to tell you: Guns don't kill.”