9) American Sniper
American Sniper, Clint Eastwood’s blockbuster biopic of US marksman Chris Kyle, divided critics on release.
It was well-crafted, well-acted and completely enamored with the American war machine, with its focus on one of the most controversial figures to have ever fought for the US of A. Kyle killed many on his tours in Afghanistan, and suggested later that he actually derived pleasure from it – and this is the guy that Eastwood’s film idolizes. Scottish comedian Frankie Boyle called the movie “Star Wars from the point of view of the stormtroopers” – an apt description.
What saves American Sniper from being nothing but empty propaganda is Eastwood’s well-honed minimalistic style and a compelling lead performance by Bradley Cooper. Through him, Eastwood’s film becomes a sort of enigmatic character study. We wonder whether Cooper’s inscrutable anti-hero feels haunted by his actions, or whether he’s even been affected at all. It’s to Cooper’s credit that his Kyle is so fascinating, despite always remaining so chillingly distant.