I really had a hard time finding the motivation to see American Sniper. It is the type of movie I avoid as best I can. I do not typically enjoy movies about war. That is especially true of films about any wars that have taken place throughout my lifetime. My first and foremost issue is that I do not find them entertaining. And by entertaining, I mostly mean funny. It is difficult to find very much amusing about the never-ending warfare in the middle east. Beyond that there is just so much beige, and that, in and of itself, is unappealing.
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this film. I found parts entertaining and even uplifting. Yes, there was plenty that was disturbing and heartbreaking about the film, but I did not leave the theater feeling exhausted and depressed like I often do after movies about modern wars.
Bradley Cooper did a fantastic job in his portrayal of Chris Kyle. He was charming, as expected, but also convincingly expressed the experiences of war from a different perspective than we often see.
I think a tremendous benefit to the film was the casting of Jake McDormand. I did not know that he was in the film before I went to see it. As soon as I saw him, I breathed a sigh of relief because I knew that I would be, at least periodically, entertained. His character, Biggles, was the highlight of the film for me. He brought light to a film about a dark subject matter in the same way, I can only assume, Ryan “Biggles” Job did for these men in real life.
The story is powerful. No matter you opinions on war, on sniping, or on the state of our country in general. A subject matter I do not make a habit of tackling on this blog or in my life in general, but an important one for sure. If you are resisting seeing the film because you think it will be a downer, know that this is not the case. The film was entertaining and uplifting while dealing with issues many of us choose to avoid when it comes to entertainment.