For Your Consideration: American Sniper
American Sniper is much more than a war movie. It is a film about America, PTSD, family, honor, love, heroes, and combat. This biographical action film stars Bradley Cooper as American hero Chris Kyle and is directed by Clint Eastwood. The film is based on Kyle’s autobiography, American Sniper, and allows us inside the mind of this legendary American sniper as he serves four terms in Iraq.
At first, I didn’t think easy going, witty Cooper could pull off such an intense role, but he surprised me. Cooper gives a genuinely great performance as our hero, better known as “The Legend”. Director Eastwood wants us to know his backstory, because it’s important for us to see even in the throes of combat, his wife, his brother, and his home are never far from his mind. Many times, while he is in sniper mode, laying down on a rooftop and picking off “the bad guys”, he is also on his phone with his wife and playfully talking dirty to her. I found this hard to believe, but as the story unfolds, Eastwood does a great job of showing us these Navy Seals aren’t machines, they are people with families, feelings, and in Kyle’s case, pinpoint accuracy in taking out the enemy. “The Legend” becomes known throughout not only the US military, but the enemy combatants as well. The soldiers he protects from his rooftop vantage point owe him their lives and show appreciation throughout the film. He is a hero, but it comes with a heavy price. Killing women and children who are intent on doing harm to his brothers in arms is nothing for Kyle to celebrate, and that haunts him for the rest of his life.
This film should appeal to many. The war movie element, with the inside-the-eye-of-the-sniper perspective, gives it suspense, emotion, and a true sense of what Chris Kyle’s experience must have been like. The ending seemed abrupt, but maybe that too was intentional, since reality isn’t about smooth transitions.
Rating – 4 stars