Hollywood Ka Dabanng!
Yet another American in Iraq story. True, but trite. It's almost like every Hollywood hero wants to play soldier (just like Hindi movie stars). Thankfully their shirts don't come off and they don't sing around the minefield...
For the last few years Hollywood has been going on overdrive feeding us true stories about the 'Ai-raaq' war, painting the enemy as 'savages'. Looks like they've found their Dabanng and Wanted and R. Rajkumar and Singham. Movies like Hurt Locker have even won accolades.
This movie gets Bradley Cooper to bulk up and show up steely eyed and even kill 'savages'. He's a Navy SEAL and a sniper with the highest number of kills to his name. Now that's a real story, and like all dramatised 'true stories', American Sniper pushes all the right buttons. The hero is a star, on the war-front and in his personal life. But how many times have you seen a soldier saving a woman at a bar and then end up marrying her? How many times have you seen a Catholic lad turning soldier for God and Country? How many times have you seen siblings save each other in a war situation? How many times have you seen a soldier talk about 'when I go back I will marry her', or 'when I go back I will go back to the farm of my childhood' and then be the first man who is blown up to bits. The hero of course has promised to help his family...
Predictability aside, the scene where the flag is folded and handed to the widow or the mother of a soldier still makes one's heart well up and tears fall. One is not immune to the scene no matter how many times one has seen it in the movies.
The war scenes have been shot rather well, although you wonder why the drones are used only for surveillance and not to bomb the enemy.
Scenes with little children murderous or not always make me queasy and two in the movie have been placed rather well. They keep your heartbeats at pause and you are forced to participate in the situation.
At the heels of Unbroken, which is shot beautifully, this movie seems to work only at the heartstrings. Both movies work with cliches even in the villains. Just that the the single minded Syrian sniper Mustapha in this movie wins a star all by himself with his long, curling lashes. But why he's fighting in Iraq, why he turned into a soldier after having been an Olympian gold medalist, why is his family located in the middle of a war... These are questions that are not answered. He's just shows up as a bad guy who kills American soldiers in the head. But such beautiful eyelashes...
Hey! I'm trying to find something good here. It's directed by Clint Eastwood, after all. But then I'd rather you go back to your DVD collection and watch Grand Torino all over again. This war movie is Hollywood's Dabanng.