Many recent movies highlight real-life and larger than life heroes but none more so than American Sniper. I give the movie an A. Based on Chris Kyle’s life, his four tours in Iraq and his issues with PTSD, the movie has polarized the country and been nominated for an Oscar.
At times, gritty and disturbing, Bradley Cooper shows the conflict brought on by deciding who lives and dies during a time of war. Like many war movies, the hero must suffer the loss of his closest comrades but ultimately “gets” the bad guy.
In American Sniper, Bradley BECOMES Chris Kyle, swearing, drinking, and dedicated patriot. He’s got a way with words and wins the heart of his wife with his killer smile and charm. A man larger than life, who only set out to protect Americans. There’s so many F-bombs, you could make a drinking game out of it.
Clint Eastwood directed this movie, which still packs movie houses and brought a round of applause when it completed. Clint even wrote one of the songs for the movie, as he did for Gran Torino. He’s turning into quite a director. His choice for the ending gives the feeling of a memorial and like Unbroken, features real images of Chris and the commemorations of his life.
Based off Chris Kyle’s autobiography, American Sniper gives a patriotic glimpse into the world of the Iraqi war and the Navy Seals who fought as well as the problems of PTSD and coming home.
Now having seen the trifecta of WW2 movies currently out (Fury, The Imitation Game and Unbroken), I can say that Unbroken is my favorite. I give it an A. We’ve all heard about Louis Zamperini, from his good times as an Olympic athlete to his horrible times as a WW2 prisoner. We’ve also heard about how his faith and promise to God, led him to forgive his captors. Louis wasn’t always religious but came to be as he also learned to find his strength from within.
While the movie has been compared to a “Hallmark movie on War.” The images on the screen convey more than Louies’s story but the story of an entire generation. The second degree blisters on the face of Louis and Phil in the lifeboat to the blackness that covered everyone and everything in the prison camp. The buzz of the insects in the Pacific jungle and the grayness of the Japanese town hit by mortar. Those things stay with you.
Color me shocked that it didn’t get nominated for any Golden Globes. Could it be that people are still angry at Jolie? But watch out at the Oscars. I was intrigued by the Japanese Prison camp leader Mutsuhiro Watanabe or “The Bird” played by Miyavi. I couldn’t tell if there was a sexual interest or something else. It kept me on edge. I can see why he haunted Louis’s sleep and this Japanese Rock Star will certainly get an Oscar nomination.
**Additionally, I did some research after the movie and found that there was sexual interest by The Bird. He was probably bi-polar and a sexual sadist. The young man playing him is a rock star, along the lines of One Direction in the US...My daughter and son loved listening to his music and watching his videos. I never made the connection until I saw an image of him on the computer.
Personally, my former grandfather-in-law was interned in a German POW camp in Romania and his story of finding God and pledging his life to forgiveness was written about in another book. The Romanian princess visited America and stayed at my grandparents' home.***
Another Golden Globe nominee, The Imitation Game is based on true events and the life of Alan Turing a mathematician who sets out to crack the invincible German Enigma Code. I give the movie a C+.
Benedict Cumberbatch gives an award winning performance as Alan who tells his story in a series of narratives and flashbacks. Bullied as a child, Alan had one close friendship that begins his life as a code breaker. His machine was the foundation for computers. It was sad what happened to him because we lost the potential for so many more brilliant creations with his death.
There were some pieces of the movie that bothered me, or more like frustrated me. The constant changes in time frames was discombobulating at times. It’s not until almost the end that we learn Alan is telling his story to the police detective. The movie audience is seeing it in his memories.
The previews also don’t share or hint at Alan’s secret. He was homosexual at a time in Britain’s history where homosexuals were persecuted and when he was caught, the hormone treatment destroyed his brain. I don’t understand why the director didn’t bring this out during the previews. It was a huge part of who he was and it appeared that the director covered it up.
As a romance author, I love movies with happy endings. Even Die Hard has a happy ending…and the bad guys get their comeuppance. The Imitation Game doesn’t have a happy ending. NO ONE ends up happy. One of the Enigma team lost his brother because the team couldn’t alert the German’s that they broke the code. In fact, their work was covered up for 50 years and they couldn’t talk about it. The British Secret Service (MI 6) treated them horribly as the government played God with lives during the war, feeding Intel to the Russians and choosing which threats to stop.
Even with the great performances, I couldn’t fall for this movie. If you are looking forward to a movie that will lift your spirits or give you a happy ending…see Unbroken or even Fury!
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