I went to see this film last night. Here’s what I thought of it on IMDB:
— Ian Parish (@iparish) January 31, 2015
I think I’m possibly too old for these films. I just wasn’t impressed. It might be that I had already read some reviews and they weren’t very positive or it might be that I’m just a grumpy old lefty.
MILD SPOILERS FOLLOW
I grew up with war films. I thought they were exciting. I thought they generally made war look glamorous. The motives behind wars always seemed justifiable. Then I saw lots of Vietnam movies and you start to realise that war is used by governments to maintain their economic advantage over everyone else. I should probably write another communication about my views on war and killing people. So, back to this film.
A man, who loves his country so much, sees something bad and gets angry, he signs up to be a Navy Seal. He’s a good shot with a rifle. He trains to be a sniper and then gets sent off to war. Along the way he marries a woman. We’ve all seen Navy SEAL training videos, we know what they do and that they are tough. Nothing new there. The training part of the film completely missed all of the important aspects of training. It looked like a video game where the first 20 minutes teaches you how to play the game.
Being sent off to war and then being liberal with the truth means our man gets even more angry at everything and kills plenty of people fighting for their own country. He carries a bible all the time, because god obviously justifies all the killing. His tour fucks him up and when he returns home he’s not the man he used to be. He bears a grudge against a “baddie” sniper and keeps returning to Iraq in the hope of getting the baddie first. Our baddie has a wife and children but we aren’t allowed to know his reasons for being in this war especially as he’s not an Iraqi.
Sniper boy gets more and more disturbed but we aren’t really shown this. We get snap shots throughout the movie but no in depth analysis. We have an Iraqi tour followed by a bit of home life where he’s obviously troubled but it’s all superficial. Finally our boy kills their boy and he wants to come home, he’s done his job. Never mind the Americans that are still getting killed.
In the end our sniper does good and becomes himself again once he helps veterans. We see him talking to a shrink and after a couple of minutes he appears to be normal again. Bollocks. This film was entirely uncritical of any elements of war. It would have been far better had we seen more of the other characters and their fight with normality. also, this film has been compared to The Hurt Locker, which I also thought was shit.
This is essentially a cowboy movie for the modern MTV-editing age where we aren’t allowed to have feelings and thoughts and questions. Did I say, it was directed by a cowboy star? Some of Clint’s movies have been awesome and great. This one was shit.