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Cinema from Wednesday 18 February

Test American Sniper

Clint Eastwood’s biopic of Navy Seal sniper Chris Kyle has divided critics, but has won over audiences in the United States. How will it fare in Europe?

Test American Sniper

Clint Eastwood is a masterful filmmaker, no matter what one might think of his politics. The actor turned director has helmed some truly powerful films during his long career, just think of Unforgiven, Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby and his twin WWII films Flags Of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima.

His latest film, American Sniper, has garnered a slew of Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actor (for Bradley Cooper) and Best Adapted Screenplay (for Jason Hall). The latter is important, because the film, purporting to be a biopic, is based on Kyle’s memoir American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History.

To some Kyle is a hero, pure and simple. A man who carried out a job and who saved countless of his military colleagues’ lives by killing those deemed a threat. To others he was a controversial figure whose disdain for the people in whose country he was operating--“I couldn’t give a flying fuck about the Iraqis,” he wrote in the memoir--they feel sums up the American military machine’s attitude to war.

Whichever way you feel, there is no doubt that Eastwood has made an exciting, tension packed film that Justin Chang in Variety describes as “a harrowing and intimate character study” that “strikes even its familiar notes with a sobering clarity.”

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