American Sniper Blu-ray Review
Critics seem to be hard on Clint Eastwood lately, with most people calling his films pedestrian, slow and linear, and though I agree that those terms are slightly accurate, I often argue that they are well told stories with, more often than not, characters that I can root for despite their obvious flaws. Such is the case of AMERICAN SNIPER.
AMERICAN SNIPER follows the story of US Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper). A soldier who has served several tours in Iraq and is known for the number of “targets” he eliminated during the war via his excellent sniper skills. He has the distinction of having the most sniper kills in the history of the Navy. We follow Kyle during his tours and how he deals with ramifications of war when he is home with his family.
Although I may be in the minority, I’ll just admit right now that I appreciate the directing aesthetic of Clint Eastwood. His films have been accused of being ordinary, bland and too straightforward, but sometimes I can appreciate that in a film. If the story is good and there is a great actor on the screen then you don’t really need to have a lot of fancy filming techniques for me to enjoy the film. Sometimes Mr. Eastwood does tend to lean towards the dramatics and the story meanders along, but that is not something that was apparent in AMERICAN SNIPER. He had an interesting character who had not only an interesting story involving war, but also involving a personal aspect of his life and these two moved along at a decent pace with very little excess to draw the audience away into a state of boredom or detachment.
One aspect of AMERICAN SNIPER that has been criticized over and over is how much the facts are skewed regarding various occurrences in the movie. It’s a little disappointing that Mr. Eastwood couldn’t just stick to the facts in his film and felt the need to embellish the truth, but honestly so many films that are touted as “based on true events/facts” have exaggerations to some degree. Films are meant to be told from a single perspective, the director’s, so one shouldn’t expect the hardcore facts when watching a movie like this.
The main reason the film works so well is that Bradley Cooper gave an excellent performance. He constantly churns out great movies, but this was his movie and his alone and he nailed every scene. He’s quite charming, but much of this film required him to act without using dialogue and he did a fantastic job and deserved an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Chris Kyle.
Some of the military veterans in my family love the film, while others think it misses the mark. I thought AMERICAN SNIPER was a decent film and definitely one of Clint Eastwood’s movies I could re watch. Not only is it an emotional and entertaining film to watch, how could I not want to gaze upon Bradley Cooper for another 2 hours? That’s 2 hours well spent.
Video: AMERICAN SNIPER looks fantastic on Blu-ray. There are a lot of browns and dark colors used in the film, but the Blu-ray transfer allows them to shine through.
Audio: The audio was fine.
One Soldier’s Story: The Journey of American Sniper (31:04): This feature is an in-depth look at the making of film, but doesn’t have the tone of the typical making-of feature (but that’s the other special feature if you’re into that). This is more of a look at Chris Kyle’s story before the book, during the casting, what happened when he died and how Bradley Cooper encompassed the character. Worth a watch if you enjoyed the film.
The Making of American Sniper (28:35): This is your standard making-of feature with cast and crew interviews that is very cookie cutter compared to the One Soldier’s Story: The Journey of American Sniper feature.