Published on January 16th, 2015 | by Joseph Saulnier0
Every once in a while a movie just sneaks up on me. A movie that comes out of nowhere to be one of the best that I have seen in a long while. This is how American Sniper hit me. I had seen previews, and thought that it might end up being a decent flick, but I did not expect it to grab a hold of me and teach me something about myself as well.
American Sniper sees Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle in his second movie with “American” in the title (see 2013’s American Hustle). Most of us know the story of Chris Kyle, but for those that don’t here’s a quick rundown. Chris Kyle is the most lethal sniper in American history with 160 confirmed kills as a Navy SEAL, and another 95 probable kills. He served four tours, and wrote a book about his life. This film is based on that book. It tells the story of how he was influenced by his father, joined the military, and then went on to serve four tours while trying to balance his life at home with his wife and children. Acting as the true Sheepdog to all in his life, American Sniper looks at the struggle Kyle went through, and tells the story with passion and respect.
Cooper did a fantastic job portraying Texas-native Kyle. He was almost unrecognizable onscreen, as he put in 8 months of prep to get ready for this role, including a 4-hour a day training regime, and another two with a vocal coach. It was even said that some of Kyle’s brothers-in-arms who helped train Cooper and serve as consultants on the movie could feel his presence through Cooper at the end of training and all throughout filming. Sienna Miller was a great compliment to Cooper’s performance as Taya Kyle, Chris’ wife and the mother of his children. And not surprisingly, Clint Eastwood knocked it out of the park in this go at the Director’s chair. This is his best movie in years, though one would hope so with Chris Kyle’s father threatening to unleash hell if the memory of his son was disrespected with the film.
Mr. Kyle’s passing was a tragic event for those that knew him, and even those that did not know him. I think he may rest well knowing that this film, adapted from his own auto-biography, was handled beautifully with such passion and respect. If I have one issue with the film, it was the rapidity at which things progressed. So many different events packed into 15 minute segments with time just seemed to be rushing like a river, and glossing over parts of the story that could really have used some more build up or exploring. But such is the case when adapting a movie from a book. Though I am sure that movie-goers would not have minded lengthy the movie a bit, even with a run-time of 132 minutes.
If you see one movie this month, let it be American Sniper. If you have not heard of Chris Kyle, or his story, go see American Sniper. Hopefully, the Legend will live on through the lives he touched, and saved.
4.5 Stars out of 5.
Second Review by Ryan Guerra
The new Clint Eastwood film American Sniper tells the story of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in U.S. History. The film has been nominated for the year’s best picture and it has been touted as Bradley Cooper’s best performance yet.
I am happy to report that the hype of Cooper’s performance is justified. His real and raw performance as a never quit Navy SEAL is stellar as he not only comes across as believable in his simple nature, but also exceptionally likeable. As he becomes a legend of war, he does not revel in his popularity but instead continues to focus on his duty to his men and his country. Cooper deserves the Best Actor nomination he has earned for this role.
To contrast Cooper, Sienna Miller plays his wife and gives a superb performance herself. It his through her that we get told a side of the military, and more specifically war, that we rarely see in film. Which is the military wife, back home trying to deal with raising a family on her own while hoping for her husband to come home safe. Most war movies do not show us this side of the story and for me at least, it is Miller’s balance across Cooper that helps take this film to a the best picture category.
This is truly what the film is about, Kyle’s sense of duty towards his country and his family. Those expecting a Hollywood action “war” may be disappointed, but hopefully stay open minded and instead will find themselves caught up in the emotion of this film that has so many captivated. That is not to say that there is not action, it is just that the action is done in a realistic non-Hollywood style. Not every shot fired hits its mark nor do our heroes feel invulnerable. This sense of danger does a great job of creating tension in the pacing throughout the film. Don’t miss this film.
4 ½ stars out of five