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American Sniper

American Sniper

USA 2014 - mit Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Kyle Gallner, Keir O`Donnell, Ben Reed ...

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Originaltitel:American Sniper
Genre:War Movie, Drama
Regie:Clint Eastwood
Produktionsland:USA 2014
Laufzeit:Ca. 132 min.
FSK:From 16 years
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Hardly any film in the USA has caused such controversial discussions in the recent past as Clint Eastwood's latest war drama "American Sniper". In the film Eastwood tells the story of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper), who with over 160 confirmed killings is considered the most precise and successful sniper in American military history. Based on Kyle's autobiography, the film not only follows the soldier during his four Iraq deployments, but also tries to trace the burden they place on his marriage to his wife Taya Renae Kyle (Sienna Miller) and on his own psyche. And it shows how he is looking for his way back to normal everyday life after he decided against the military and for his family.

In the beginning Chris Kyle wasn't really enthusiastic about the idea that his book should be filmed. But after director Clint Eastwood and producer and lead actor Bradley Cooper managed to convince him of her vision for the film, everything looked like a close collaboration between Kyle and the film team. But that should not happen, Kyle was shot dead by a seemingly traumatised veteran in February 2013. Now Eastwood and Cooper had a special interest in keeping the honor of the sniper, who was a great hero to them like many other Americans, high. And this is exactly the problem with the film. Chris Kyle was not only the great war hero, but also an extremely controversial person. Apart from the fact that he probably didn't always take the truth very seriously in interviews, he was also accused of racism and sadism through some passages in his book and several interviews. To completely ignore this rather dark side of the sniper leaves a somewhat bland aftertaste.

One could of course argue that Eastwood was primarily about showing what the beast can make war out of a human and what deep scars he leaves on the soldiers. The questionable aspects of Kyle's nature and life only play a subordinate role. Instead, the movie doesn't deal with the time after the combat missions. Having spent almost two hours tracing in detail the four operations in Iraq and some very dramatic confrontations with the enemy, he only has a few minutes left for the time afterwards. What happens after traumatic experiences with veterans back home, how they deal with the burdens and how government and society take care of them, is all too superficially addressed to be really seen as the central message of the film. Had Eastwood foregone a few war scenarios and paid a little more attention to the difficult time afterwards, this would have legitimized many a controversial moment in his film.

The four-time Oscar-winner obviously tries to do without the usual patriotism of the war drama genre. For example, close-ups of the US flag that are pregnant with meaning are not used here. It's only the credits that catch up with Eastwood's archive recordings, which are accompanied by a very conventional pathos soundtrack, and which Eastwood avoided quite well before. The movie is also really convincing from a purely technical point of view. The Oscar-winning sound is as intense as the visual language, which radiates a high degree of realism. And the game of Bradley Cooper is also beyond doubt in most moments. All these positive aspects show again and again what a good, moving movie "American Sniper" actually could be. However, the completely uncritical approach to the main character, which unfortunately finally degenerates into a glorifying hero worship through the last pictures, lays too much shadow over the otherwise really strong staging. Even though the film doesn't glorify the war itself, as it is so often accused of doing, it still seems too undifferentiated and uncritical in the end to be able to really convince. A good material for discussions and a stirring drama is Eastwood but always succeeded. And for that there is also one: Worth seeing!

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