SYNOPSIS: From director Clint Eastwood comes “American Sniper,” starring Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history. But there was much more to him than his skill as a sharpshooter.
U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle is sent to Iraq with only one mission: to protect his brothers-in-arms. His pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield and, as stories of his courageous exploits spread, he earns the nickname “Legend.” However, his reputation is also growing behind enemy lines, putting a price on his head and making him a prime target of insurgents. He is also facing a different kind of battle on the home front: striving to be a good husband and father from halfway around the world.
Despite the danger, as well as the toll on his family at home, Chris serves through four harrowing tours of duty in Iraq, personifying the SEAL creed to “leave no man behind.” But upon returning to his wife, Taya Renae Kyle (Sienna Miller), and kids, Chris finds that it is the war he can’t leave behind.
The foundation of this flick is the tragically murdered Chris Kyle’s best-selling memoir, which chronicled his tours and achievements in Iraq as a Navy SEAL. And as such, thanks to an unprecedented number of sniper kills, he earned the nickname “the Legend.”
Modern warfare has seldom been staged with such intensity; I won’t soon forget the intensity with which Bradley Cooper (The Hangover – film series) portrays Chris Kyle’s specific job, and point of view, as a sniper that sets this movie apart from other Iraq-war-based films out there, such as 2008’s “The Hurt Locker.” Certainly, I have not read Kyle’s memoir from which this film was adapted, but if you take away anything from the movie version it is the state of mind of which Cooper’s Kyle was always in throughout.
This Chris Kyle story (the "Most Lethal Sniper in US Military History" as his autobiography describes him) and like 2013's “Lone Survivor,” is a flick that just wants to be a salute to good old American heroism for audiences that are happy to take stories about recent US military history at face value. And most interestingly, American Sniper doesn’t seem to give audiences a pro or anti-war message nor does it seem to exist to celebrate Kyle’s proficiency for killing people, but rather it seems to exist to provide a portrait of the disenchanting side effects of being a patriot, the toll it takes and the price you pay. There’s nothing really too wrong in that concept, I would suggest.
Overall, the movie has spectacular war action scenes and is sure to please the war-movie fanatics. It is well shot and displays great likeness to the authenticity of the environment one would expect from the Iraqi war. The cinematography looks beautiful, and the acting is right on point from both the central characters and the supporting cast. It is certainly a solid look at the desolation of a man’s soul as he witnesses inhuman atrocities. Bradley Cooper delivers yet another fantastic performance here, while Clint Eastwood regains his mastery status in the director’s chair. It’s not a perfect flick by any means, with a couple of questionable military routine protocols, but they never really take away from the momentum of what is easily one of the most intense action films of this year. Hence, there isn’t really very much to complain about in the way the story is presented. It seems to just basically present events as they happened.
Four and a half out of five stars are well deserved here and I would urge most to go out and enjoy this flick with friends and popcorn. –
By Movi-Man Stan
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