American Sniper Movie Review
Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) is a Navy SEAL and family man. Saving countless lives, his accurate sniper skills has put him to a legendary status among all soldiers. But his honorable choice to serve his country comes at a price. Four tours of duty isn’t easy for any family to endure and Chris’ wife and kids miss him when he’s gone and feel his absence when he is home. Based on the true story of an American hero, AMERICAN SNIPER tracks both the tragic hardship and overwhelming positive impact Chris Kyle’s life meant to many.
When in battle, Chris is at ease in his natural element. It’s at home, where the quiet tension from his difficulty to communicate properly manifests itself. Unlike many stories where anger and resentment occurs, the Kyle family is supportive and nurturing through this obviously stressful situations. The film tells a rather linear story of a good man falling in love, who finds his calling for something more after that tragic day on September 11, 2001. Jumping large chunks of time, the film hops through Chris at war and then at home, keeping a vague sense of time through his child being born and seeing him grow.
Probably remembered as an actor first, Clint Eastwood has a rather large resume in directing in his older years. His crowning achievement was 1992’s UNFORGIVEN, a film so incredible that it has blinded us to a fairly giant pool of forgettable films. Recent films like INVICTUS, HEREAFTER, J. EDGAR, and even this past summer’s JERSEY BOYS have all had bright moments, but were still far from being great. AMERICAN SNIPER might not be his next amazing film, but it is a solid, moving piece of work that Eastwood can proudly hang his director’s hat on as his best film in years.
Like most of his films, Eastwood is particular with his casting, relying on his actors emotions to tell the heart of the story. Bradley Cooper is perfect in the role of Chris Kyle, finding the essence of a man that has difficulty expressing the toll the war has taken on him. Bulking up for the role, Cooper embodies the character with every mannerism and speaking rhythm. But it’s in the eyes where Cooper really finds the weathered soldier who has difficulty returning home. He is able to find the heart of every man who wants to be more for his wife, kids and those he loves.
The pacing of the film never quite finds its proper momentum but there are some truly powerful scenes that makes AMERICAN SNIPER well worth recommending. If you don’t know the story, I won’t complete it for you, but the inner change through some extremely horrific and riveting experiences sets the film apart. Other than a few key scenes in a rather mundane storytelling process, it’s Bradley Cooper’s award worthy performance that ultimately propels this incredible true story past the line of generic and into an emotionally captivating experience.