Clint Eastwood is at the helm of this biopic. Bradley Cooper plays Texan Chris Kyle, nicknamed The Legend for his 160 kills during the war in Iraq following the attacks of 9/11.

Kyle’s patriotism is awakened after 9/11, propelling him to join the US army where, building on his childhood skills as a hunter, he trains as a US Navy Seal and sniper. Kyle has left behind his wife (Sienna Miller, dull and forgettable) and children. Every time he returns home from a long tour of duty, he is a little bit more disconnected and disoriented.

A far more jingoistic and laboriously rendered film than the similar The Hurt Locker, rah-rah patriotism, the re-emphasizing of Kyle’s silent trauma and its effect on his family add to the jadedness. Cooper smoulders and winces, yet one finds it hard to sympathize with his character. The irony of this small-time celebrity’s story hits home in the final minutes when, finally rehabilitated, a twist of fate shatters his return to a normal life.

The script and direction are unabashedly skewed towards feeding a lowest-common-denominator notion of war heroes and takes a righteous stand in favour of war, rather than exploring or portraying an authentic picture of the psychological impact of conflict.

American Sniper released in theatres on Friday

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