“After sitting through American Sniper twice, I’m more convinced than ever that there’s a level of sardonic commentary at work that is sometimes subtle and sometimes pretty damn obvious. Pay attention to Cooper’s increasingly congested body language, the posture of a man stricken with unmanageable psychic distress. Pay attention to the use of the phrase ‘mission accomplished’ late in the film, or the stateside scene in which Kyle runs into a Marine whose life he saved in Fallujah and can’t even make eye contact with the guy. This is a portrait of an American who thought he knew what he stood for and what his country stood for and never believed he needed to ask questions about that. He drove himself to kill and kill and kill based on that misguided ideological certainty — that brainwashing, though I’m sure Clint Eastwood would never use that word — and then paid the price for it. So did we all, and the reception of this film suggests that the payments keep on coming due.” — from “American Sniper and the culture wars: Why the movie’s not what you think it is” — Andrew O’Hehir, Salon, 1.20.