Marlborough Mid-Week : January 21st 2015
ENTERTAINMENT MARLBOROUGH MIDWEEK, JANUARY 21, 2015 17 Sniper’s tales superbly portrayed NOW SHOWING BY MATT LAWREY American Sniper (R16) ★★★★1 ⁄2 thriller starring Clint Eastwood about a Californian DJ being stalked by a carving knifewielding nutbar. The movie totally freaked me E out at the age of 11. It’s not the sort of film my parents would ever have let me seen but I was staying at a friend’s house and his folks were a lot more relaxed about exposing children to twisted stuff that is totally inappropriate for them. I remember my friend’s parents both laughing at my terror and killing themselves when I actually started watching the film, which was on TV, from behind the relative safety of a couch. The worst, however, was yet to come. Heading upstairs to bed, I found the top floor of the house in pitch darkness. I was sure my friend’s dad had gone up the stairs before me so, trying not to sound scared, I called out – ‘‘Mr McGhie. Are you there, Mr McGhie?’’ There was silence. I felt my way along the wall to my friend’s bedroom and, just as I reached for the light, Mr McGhie jumped out from behind the door and, laughing manically, attacked me with a pillow. To this day I’m still not sure how I managed to maintain control of my bodily functions. Eventually Mr McGhie got tired of whacking me like a man possessed, turned on the light and found me in the fetal position on the floor. This was the cause of even more hearty laughter. Needless to say, I never stayed Crack shot: Bradley Cooper impresses as Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in the history of the USmilitary, in American Sniper. Photo: SUPPLIED at the McGhie residence again. The reason I am telling you this is that not only did Play Misty for Me star Eastwood, it was his directorial debut, and if there was one thing the film proved, it’s Eastwood’s talent for ratcheting up tension. Forty-four years after Play Misty for Me, Eastwood is still superbly winding up stress levels in the Academy Award-nominated American Sniper. Starring Bradley Cooper as sharpshooter Chris Kyle, the movie is based on fact and is a powerhouse of a film. The most lethal sniper in the history of the US military, Kyle grew up shooting deer in Texas and made a name for himself shooting Iraqis in places like Fallujah. Kyle joined the military after the attacks on US Embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi in 1998. Although older than most new recruits, he managed to become one of the military’s elite fighters, a Navy SEAL. American Sniper traces both Kyle’s military story and his family one. It tells a tale of enormous courage but also great damage and features some of the most intense scenes this reviewer has seen for some time. A seriously bulked up Cooper is superb as a simple natured man trying to suppress, compress and ultimately process some incredibly complicated emotions. It’s a one of those great performances that manages to be powerful yet understated. The only other actor who really registers is Sienna Miller, who gives Cooper solid support as Kyle’s longsuffering wife Taya. American Sniper is Eastwood’s best film in ages. It’s gripping, moving and frightening, and not nearly as jingoistic as you might expect. It also sounds amazing. There are, however, a few unnecessary bits and one plot thread that actually undermines the film’s sense of authenticity. It would have also benefited from one or two characters saying things like – ‘‘Dude, you know that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9-11 and that whole weapons of mass destruction thing was bull? You know that, right?’’ ❚ Bottom line – it may well blow you away. ver seen a movie called Play Misty for Me? It’s a 1971 psychological Tickets on sale now at cricketworldcup.com ADULTS FROM$20, CHILDREN FROM$5* Coming to New Zealand & Australia 14 February - 29 March 2015 #cwc15 *Tickets subject to availability. Conditions apply. A one-off service/delivery fee per transaction and credit/debit card processing fee applies.
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