Overall Grade: (B+)
Exceptional film-making by Eastwood and even better acting by Cooper make this biopic a riveting tale that will have you feeling the pride of a nation.
Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle was labeled the deadliest man in the war and after four tours of duty he begins to have trouble adapting to family life at home as the war continues in his head, and the guilt of not being there for his men and his country weigh heavy on his conscious.
I thought this was a well detailed look at a man that truly gave his all for his country. The script built many layers to the story-line as well as what appeared to be a careful examination of who Chris Kyle was, as well as his motivations and beliefs. From the early days of his life, his long tenure in the service, his actions in combat and his relationship with his wife and kids – this film gave the viewer a glimpse of it all to tell the near-complete story of this mans life’s work.
Bradley Cooper was exceptional and felt every bit the part as he brought out all he could to make the performance as realistic as possible. He delivered strong mannerisms, and realistic reactions to stressful situations for a man in his position and pulled off a plausible Texas accent without over doing it. Cooper was also excellent in the combat sequences and without question delivered all the emotions of a man dealing with internal conflict.
Director Clint Eastwood created some highly detailed battle-sequences that pull you completely into the tense situations. He weaves a strong story of factual information, intense war action, the emotional strain of military families, and the camaraderie among soldiers to take the viewer on a true roller-coaster of emotions. This film continues to show why I think Eastwood has a great eye for telling real-life stories in cinematic fashion rather than Hollywood-fashion.
After watching this movie you feel like you learned a lot about a man that lost his life in the most unfortunate of ways. You will be emotionally fatigued after sitting through the two highly compelling hours but it will be worth it to learn about someone that could be labeled a hero to many.
Many critics claimed this was too much of a US propaganda film but I disagree when saying it was the intention. This was a biopic of an individual who was an avid lover of his country, its freedoms and in the end dedicated his entire life to protecting that country so if a film based on his life did not feel like such, then it would be a failure in my mind.
One of areas this film did miss the mark on for me was in its completion of retelling the life of Kyle. The script takes you through his early years growing up and all throughout his career in the service but ends without giving true closure to the life of Chris Kyle.
I am not saying I would have liked the entire life played out on film, not by any means, however there could have been more detail into the program Kyle decided to take interest in for post-war soldiers. Something that ultimately lead to his death.
I loved the action in this film and do think it helped the pace greatly and managed to build many moments of high suspense but at the same time if slightly less time was spent detailing his actions as a sniper, maybe ten minutes of film time could have been allotted to detailing more of what he did to cope with the emotional strain the film detailed him having.
Overall though “American Sniper” was a great movie and gives the viewer a little bit of everything and tells its story in grand style. Your attention will be riveted throughout and this project will put Cooper on many peoples lists of great real-life character portrayals next to Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles, Will Smith as Muhammad Ali or Tom Cruise as Ron Kovik.