American Sniper

by | Feb 2, 2015 | 0 comments

A Film That Exceeds All the Expectations and Might Be Eastwood’s Best.

Clint Eastwood. The name of an eternal artist. His latest film: American Sniper could be the 84 year-old’s best film yet. The great performances from Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller and the harrowing story are enough to make this film one of the best war movies ever made.

American Sniper tells the true story of the legendary United States marksman Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) who had over 160 confirmed kills. The film opens up right in the middle of the action, where Kyle is protecting troops from his nest (sniper hideout). Kyle spots a woman and a child ahead of his troop; he sees the mother give the child a grenade. The child hides the explosive and starts running towards the troops. Kyle has to make the decision of whether to shoot or not in mere seconds. Before the decision is taken we flash back to Kyle’s life in Texas and how his passions switch from the rodeo ring to the rifle and uniform. We see him meet his wife Taya (Sienna Miller) and how 9/11 pushes him to the front lines. In battle Kyle constantly encounters an enemy sniper who becomes his counter part and reminds us of the similar situation that Jude Law and Ed Harris had in the WWII drama Enemy at the Gates, of the expert meeting his match.

The only other director that has been able to pull off a good modern-day war movie has been Katherine Bigelow with The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty. But Bigelow’s films lacked some emotion, and Eastwood achieves this in American Sniper. A feat, which seems much harder to believe, would come from the tough looking Republican director.  

Bradley Cooper is amazing as Kyle. Having gone on 8,000 calories a day diet to put on 40 pounds for the role, he truly looks like a Navy SEAL. He even mastered the way Kyle moved his mouth. We were able to see Kyle with his tough outer shell, yet Bradley also trickles Kyle’s sweetness and warmth. Miller is also spectacular as his wife, a role that could have easily been bypassed and objectified, but which Miller breathes life and reality into. It disappointing that her role in last year’s Foxcatcher was diminished because her skills as an actress are extensive.

The film’s look at war wasn’t that of a video game, but much more humane. Every shot fired was a wound for the audience, one thought of the families being destroyed, of the sad life the victims had led to arrive at such a place, etc. The film’s balance with war and dialogue is perfect so that cinephiles and general public alike can enjoy themselves.

The technical aspects were great as well, especially the editing, which gave every fight sequence a nail-biting edge.

Such is the power and impact of the film that the two hours feel short. What I especially liked was the way Eastwood handled the credit sequence. Instead of having a song “move the audience to the real world again,” it was almost as if he was saying: “you just watched the real world.” The tactic he used was: no music. The credits role and the whole cinema is left quiet, dumbstruck, and with goose bumps. 

  • OVERALL MOVIE RATING 85% 85%

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What War Film Best Captured the Moral Compromises?

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