'American Sniper' a rich study of war's impact

January 16, 2015 8:07 AM

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Clint Eastwood carried guns for generations onscreen. As a filmmaker he sees male heroism as a question, not an answer. Behind the camera he makes stories that focus on painful, alienated men. There were blue-collar Bostonians scarred by an abusive past in "Mystic River," and views of war punishing a nation's own soldiers in his World War II duo "Flags of Our Fathers" and "Letters From Iwo Jima."

"American Sniper," Eastwood's 37th film as a director, is his darkest, tightest, most morally ambiguous drama since he shot the western dead with "Unforgiven." It is a rich study of combat violence without a moment of jingoism or propaganda. Its central focus is the psychological wounds that haunt a...

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