American Sniper is the newest concoction of director Clint Eastwood. It has all the grit and realism you’d expect at this point from an eastwood film. It stars Bradley Cooper. Cooper is coming on a bit of hot streak following successful movies like Guardian of the Galaxy and American Hustle. There’s a bit of controversy surrounding it. Some point to the glorification of military violence, or that it doesn’t put much focus on the decisions made by the country’s leadership that led people like the titular character to do battle in Iraq in the first place.
Sniper is based on the true story of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle played by Cooper who is spot-on in his role. We get to see the evolution of the soldier from an immature man-child to a seasoned war veteran with a touch of PTSD. We feel the weight of the though decisions we see him make throughout the film. The types of decisions one would expect many soldiers to have to make in war time. Kyle is tasked as the overwatch for troops on the ground and has to keep them safe. This is the most I’ve seen Cooper get into a role. His mannerisms are different than we usually see from him and he does his best Texas accent to great effect. I think he even bulked up for the role.
We also see how an extensive military career and volunteering for numerous tours of duty effected the man’s family life. Sienna Miller does a great job playing Kyle’s wife. We see her in their courtship then how he’s coping with each stage of his career. She even has to deal with hearing him in the midst of a gunfight.
Given the fact that American Sniper is based on a true story, all of the action and violence in the film is very realistic. There are lots of explosions and gunfire. Lots of people dying on both sides of the battle field. You really feel the danger that everyone is in and the sense of urgency to accomplish objectives.
I thought American Sniper was a great movie if its taken as the story and experience of one soldier in the Iraqi war. I don’t think it needed to get into any of the political dialogue centered around that portion of the nation’s history given that Chris Kyle didn’t have any say or impact in that. He carried out the orders he was given. I don’t think it needed to tell the other side of the story since the film is about him and his account of things. All that stuff is for another film. Enjoy this one for what it is; an enjoyable film.