Director: Clint Eastwood
Cast Headliners: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller
Original Release Date: December 25th, 2014
Seen: January 2015
American Sniper, made by the intriguing team of Clint Eastwood with star Bradley Cooper, seems to have gotten more buzz about its messages and award nominations than its actual content. This film, about the late sniping Navy Seal legend Chris Kyle certainly is more than it appears to be on the surface.
The movie is about Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) both at war in Iraq and at home. Some interesting time jumps show his life from boyhood, to life in Texas, to training, to his four tours of duty in service in the military and afterwards. The shifting tones and locales are handheld well, and Cooper’s does a pretty good job at showing how Kyle was affected by the experience. Now it’s a point of contention, but he appears to be the same if not hallowed person as he witnesses the horrors of war. Perhaps that may be the point, and in any case the portrait of Kyle as a person is mostly well shown one. The other prime character who gets the most dialogue and is explored is Sienna Miller as his wife Taya. Their scenes are fraught with emotion and the two have a warm chemistry.
The prime value of this movie however lies in the theater of war. Director Clint Eastwood has been involved with action in his works before, and it certainly shows. Whether it be via long range sniper shots right through the scope or intense close quarters shootouts the action is visceral and brutal when it needs to be and appears. While at times it appears to perhaps exaggerate what really occurred, such as when enemy soldiers are leaping from building to building like out of some video game, it manages to be an overall gritty experience.
This is a dark film. Tons of enemy soldiers are shown being killed which ties into his over 100 hundred kills, and this shockingly even includes children. It’s not easy to see enemy or friendly die, and there’s a quality interplay of combatants on the battlefield.
While offering a pretty good experience of what Kyle went through in the field of modern warfare it isn’t perfect. There are the previously mentioned small exaggerations, which also includes a spot or two of fake seeming bloody wounds and Kyle’s babies being portrayed by plastic toy dolls. But one has too look closely for these. For a biography of a modern soldier, the movie is a solid if not a tad jingoistic time. 8.6 out of 10