Having grossed almost $400M in total revenue thus far, Clint Eastwood's "American Sniper" has been profitable, but still hasn't earned even half as much as the 25th highest grossing film of all time, Spider Man 3 which hauled in almost $900M.
"American Sniper" has been highly touted as a likely favorite to win many honors from the 100 or so Hollywood awards shows that dole out prizes to films. However, the film shouldn't win many, if any, awards. It's just not that good.
The real life story of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle is the driving narrative behind "American Sniper". If you haven't seen the film but plan to, don't read any further to avoid spoilers. Kyle's story is a sad one. He did four tours of duty and became revered for his success as a sniper. To this date, he has more confirmed kills than any other sniper in United States military history. However, he missed out on a lot of family time to do those tours of duty, and his wife and children spent a few years of their lives without him being present. After Kyle retires, he comes home to live with his family in Texas and begins to volunteer at the VA to help rehabilitate veterans suffering from PTSD. On February 2, 2013 Kyle was tragically killed by a veteran he was trying to help.
Chris Kyle's life was definitely interesting. It's hard not to feel sorry for his wife and two children. It's also hard not to feel sorry for the wives, children, husbands, parents and other relatives of people he killed while doing tours of duty for the United States military. What really stuck out during the film was the similarity of both sides fighting in the war. The US had its agenda, and the various middle eastern forces had their agenda. Both believed they were right and fought valiantly. "American Sniper" was produced in the United States so the film's perspective favored the US. If it had been produced in Afghanistan or Iraq, the film's perspective would have been different.
The film itself seemed shallow and cheap. There was little depth to any of the characters, and everything seemed rushed. It seemed like the entire movie was in a hurry to tell a great story, but there was no climax or ending. It was as if the film was a big important race in which everyone ran real hard and then it ended and everyone went home with no fanfare, no highlights, no medals and no reflection. I place the blame completely at Eastwood's feet. He's not a great director. Efficient, maybe. Not great.
A particular faction of people have been complaining a lot recently about another film, "50 Shades of Grey" because it's overly-sexualized, pornographic, and demeaning to women. I haven't heard anyone complain about "American Sniper". One could argue it's overly-violent, gratuitously patriotic, and demeaning to anyone who isn't American. I guess that doesn't really bother anyone.
I wonder why?